The picture below is of a large format photo session at Pitkin Rd in Waitpinga on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia engaging with the materiality of the land: fields, trees, creeks, roads, bridges, signs, rural life of this particular place. It is of a patch of countryside that emerges from a sense of an intimate relationship to a particular ‘patch of land’. It is more than space---which is an empty area or a homogenous, geometrical space.
It is true that representations of landscape has been unfashionable as the recent photographic emphasis is on the metropolitan urban where most people live. Landscape is conventionally seen as a anachronistic genre, part of a old, privileged tradition ‘overthrown’ by Modernism and now of little or no relevance in our overwhelmingly urban, more or less progressive, global culture. It is seen as the mundane representation of a “mere place”; an inferior sort of environment that is of little or no interest.
The above picture is photography as placemaking. An example. In my case it is part of the retreat from globalisation, given that the second great wave of globalization that started in the 1980s is now over with the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The assumptions of this photography as placemaking approach is that place is a social product and that photography fixes the gaze and pins it down. The gaze works within the limits of both the moment that is photographed and the spatial limits of the frame. The photographic frame restricts the gaze. The photograph is limited by the perspective of the camera and the subject is forced to subject their look to the gaze of the camera.