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Do landscapes need people?
Yes, I always try to include people 4%  4%  [ 1 ]
No, I wait for them to go away 50%  50%  [ 12 ]
It's not something I'm particularly thinking about when taking the shot 46%  46%  [ 11 ]
Total votes : 24
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:08 pm 
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Hi folks,

Pascal Riben's recent thread "Landscapes need people" by Pascal Riben started me wondering. The classic landscape painters often included people and yet I have a gut feeling that a far smaller percentage of natural, as opposed to urban, landscape photographs can say the same. Of course a painter has the ability to pose his subjects in a landscape in such a way as to enhance the scene, something that might be more difficult to arrange in a photograph unless those subjects were friends.

I've added a very simple poll but polls are pretty blunt tools so please share your thoughts as well.

Bob.

P.S. I deliberately left out the poll option "Sometimes, it depends on the scene" as that would just suck up all the votes. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:32 pm 
I think adding people in to a landscape can mainly be put down to 2 reasons (although I'm sure there are hundreds more, this is just my thoughts...)

1. To have the person in the photo! I.e. taking a photo of a spouse, friend etc in front of an amazing landscape. This I suppose is more of a portrait with a great background than a landscape and can be a bit tricky as you have to make sure the person (people) don't get lost in the landscape, but is still what most people will probably do at scenic locations.

2. To give a sense of scale. In this case you can show just how huge that rock is or how high on a mountain you are etc by including people (either focal point or background) in the scene. This could look great, but the framing needs to be right otherwise it just looks like you didn't wait for them to get out the way!

That's my thoughts anyway! I have to say I don't think you NEED people in a landscape though....most of mine don't anyway!


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:09 pm 
Sorry i cant vote on this subject as neither options to vote on will work with me. I find it interesting to take a landscape shot with people in it. Especially if they are not posing as this gives a more portrait feel to the picture.
Some times it works and other times it dosent. I always found it very interesting to shoot with people only if they are working within the frame of the picture. ie http://www.flickr.com/photos/oakfield_p ... 953350867/

Not a great shot but you get the idea. Then again people can spoil a landscape too.
Its generally up to every individual what he wants to take away from his shoot.
For me its down to each location on its own merits.

Regards
Patrick Mullan
Rossinver Co Leitrim
Ireland. :D


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:27 am 
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I think whether to include or not to include people in to landscape photography is depend on the purpose of the photo. If the purpose is to showcase the beauty of landscape scenery, than it does not have to include people. On the other hand if the purpose is to show there are connection and interaction between people and the environment (in this case is landscape scenery), than adding people in to it is a certainty. Just my 2 cents though :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:17 am 
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Sounds rather anthropocentric.

Landscapes don't need people, but people do need landscapes.

The human element in a photograph is there to illustrate scale or to aid someone in making sense of the photograph or to make some statement.

Landscapes don't need people, but photographers can choose what they want to include in their picture.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:40 am 
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I couldn't vote as it's not that black & white.

Speaking of black & white, Ansel Adams' shots wouldn't have been as special had they included people.

People can add scale and some perspective, but the human eye is draw towards human shapes and therefore away from the landscape - which should be the focus of the image

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:34 am 
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As others have said this is not a clear cut case of yes or no.

I have landscape shots which include cows in a field, in that case they are part of the landscape. I have shots of rolling hills with no animals in them and I also have shots of beaches with people in them.

If people are part of the landscape or add interest to the composition then yes they should be there. If they are detracting from the shot then it is best to PP them out.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:52 am 
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Hi folks,

Good discussion. 8) And sorry to those of you you didn't feel able to vote - I was trying to explore the extremes when I constructed the poll. I haven't voted yet but I guess I usually fall into the "wait for them to go away" category. But as an example of a composition that would be pretty ordinary without any people here's "Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows" by John Constable:
    Image
I guess the trick with photography is to include people without ending up with something that looks like a holiday snap of someone's "Aunt Dahlia". :lol: Forum Moderator Thomas managed to avoid that trap very nicely in his thread People on the Beach: The definitive Thread.

Bob.

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Last edited by Bob Andersson on Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:53 am 
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Well Bob, when I make a photograph I don't think categories. I just try to make an image. One may call it a landscape or a portrait in context or a documentary photograph or something else, I won't try to compose/frame a shot according to some category rule.
As well I won't blur the background when photographing a person just because a portrait has to have a blurred background. If I think that the background adds to the image I won't blur it because it has a person in the foreground and it should be a portrait. But that's just my 2 cents :)

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:42 pm 
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Agreed with speed12, my thoughts exactly.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 9:05 pm 
I like to include people to give sense of scale, but if possible I will always take one with and one without


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:36 am 
I agree techuser
Although anything that gives scale will do for me. The grand canyon is fantastic but catch a shot with say a tourist helicopter flying in the canyon and it gives a whole new feel to the grandeur of the place.
Something in the forgraund imo is also a way of introducing scale even if its just a bush or some grass stalks.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 1:03 am 
Hi Bob,

That is an interesting question. Bypassing the "that depends" option, I think that - on balance - the most compelling landscapes are the ones with life other than plant-life. Not necessarily people - although that is good too - but some life.

Certainly there are many landscapes with life that are horrible too...I've proven that with my own attempts many times. And yes, there are some stark, barren landscapes without people that it would be ungracious to claim weren't good.

But all in all, I think an element of life brings with it, something the lifeless ones do not have.

Cheers :-)


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