Landscape photography competition rewards unique approaches of the genre



The genre of landscape photography typically involves cliffs, gorges, mountain peaks, and other monumental natural formations captured from a panoramic point of view through a wide-angle lens. The Natural Landscape Photography Awards (NLPA) inaugural selection for Photography of the Year is an unexpected and delicious break from tradition. What at first glance looks like an icy snow cap shining under an amorphous, rust-tinged moon is actually the tip of a miniature iceberg atop a black sand beach in Iceland, decorated with an orange pebble. near. The friendly parody of compositional silhouette photography perhaps the most common in landscape photography makes it an ironic winning entry in an often serious category. “Landscapes come in many sizes,” photographer Steve Alterman wrote in the statement he submitted to the competition.

Aerial view of the year, Paul Hoelen
Intimate and abstract of the year, Franka Gabler

Despite the many landscape photography competitions, the organizers of the NLPA felt that few competitions placed importance on minimizing post-processing. They hoped that stricter rules – such as banning the practice of image composition, in which elements from different images are combined in one photograph – as well as the use of distortions and others. manipulations – would allow more realistic photographs to shine. “This is a competition for digital and film photographers who appreciate the realism of their images and edit with this in mind,” says the organization on its website.

“I’ve grown increasingly frustrated with the state of landscape and nature photography over the past 10 to 15 years,” Matt Payne, NLPA organizer and podcast host. F-Stop Collaborate and listen, says Hyperallergic. The photographs that win contests and go viral on social media, he observed, “have mostly been manipulated in Photoshop to grab your attention and make you jump out of the water.” As such, the NLPA guidelines use the same standard adopted by the National Press Photographers Association in 1991: Photographs should not “fool” viewers.

Payne is concerned that the separation between photographs true to the moment they were captured and those edited in post-production may erode public interest and confidence in landscape photography. “It’s like you go on Netflix… and you’re like, ‘I really want to watch a really good documentary tonight,’ and you end up watching this documentary and it’s amazing. And then you find out a week more. late that everything was just invented, ”recalls Payne.

Photographer of the Year, Eric Bennett

The NLPA – which has awarded awards in seven categories spanning the best Grand Landscape, Nightscape, Aerial and more – celebrates under-decorated naturalist photographers. And the winning photographs demonstrate that they can induce as much wonder and splendor as photos that endure more creative quarrels.

A photograph by Eric Bennett, winner of the Photographer of the Year award, highlights two dying brown leaves resting on what appears to be an abstractly patterned boulder that glows in blue light. But, as Bennett explains, it actually represents a puddle in which leaves have fallen and decomposed. “As these leaves break down, they release these oils, and these oils may have accumulated and had different densities,” he explains. “I like … to create more mystery – asking questions rather than giving answers.”

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