Photographing nature often stems from the photographer’s desire to share an emotion felt when observing crude forms. A desire to share the beauty he/she has seen in those forms, but not just that: to question the place of man, of animal, to contemplate a poetical nature and its fragility in the face of ecological threats; these themes are at the centre of the photographer’s gaze.
To all appearances simple, a given fact, nature in photography therefore poses profound questions in the realms of aesthetics and philosophy.
We think we are photographing a tree that we consider “beautiful”, but is it the framing that makes it an aesthetic object, or do “original art forms” exist prior to the image as we can see in the work of Karl Blossfeldt?
Take out your essays “Nature and culture; is beauty a natural state?”, you have four hours!
But let us leave Rousseau and the philosophy exam aside and travel light-heartedly through each angle this overview has to offer!
We will soon see that the great nature photographers also question our earthly condition and are often philosophers, sometimes in spite of themselves.