Landscape photography’s dilemma

This is the essential dilemma of the modern landscape photographer: It’s all been done before.

It may be that there are no longer any unphotographed locations remaining on Earth. It may be that like travel–true travel where you are separated from your home culture and set out to explore places and cultures unfamiliar to you–pure landscape photography is no longer possible.

I once compared the dates on Ansel Adams’ iconic photos to the attendance graph for Yosemite National Park. It may be a coincidence but the decline in his output coincides with the dramatic rise in park attendance. Perhaps it is hard to feel anything of genuine significance when you are jostled shoulder to shoulder with a hundred other tripod-toting photographers, all looking for that unique image.

Ben Horne captures the dilemma precisely in his short video clip of a bridge overlooking a postcard-perfect view in Zion National Park. It is a scene similar to what I’ve observed myself in National Parks all over the country.