Paul Hill: landscape photography is just not about the land – or photography

Another Paul Hill post – he’s struck a chord with me! I spotted this video when looking for something on John Blakemore, but a fellow student’s referencing of it in her Paul Hill study visit write-up prompted me to spend an hour or so watching it. It was time well passed

Notes taken as I watched are below. I’ve only typed what are the relevant points for me at this time.

Paul’s thinking about landscape and genre is unconventional and refreshing. He dislikes the concept of genres, describing them as ‘ambiguous and vacuous compartments’, suggesting that work should be ‘driven by the desire to say something, rather than to show something’. This is contrary to the view expressed by Bate considered in an earlier exercise. I’m with them both – they are necessary and useful in some contexts, but not to be taken too seriously or something to become too attached to. However, he does offer a description of landscape photography as, ‘everything you can see when you look across imagination and reality’. This reflects a psychogeographic and mindful approach to photography.

Towards the end of the video, Paul summarises his thoughts (after having bemoaned the clichés of landscape photography and ignorance of what it might be):

What you point your camera at is, of course crucial, but it is only the starting point of what could be a journey of self-discovery, rather than an exercise in making decorative clichés.