I feel a deep connection with the beauty of the scenery and, over a lifetime, have fallen deeply in love with it. I was one of many creative artists of the Great Northern Wilderness Etching Group. It had a strong influence on me at a very early age and is the origin of my love for scenic photography and is my most basic fundamental inspiration.
Instead of using paints and brushes, I'm now using the camera to capture the scenery. Although the medium has changed, my art is still being created with the same pair of eyes, the same capabilities and the same passion.
Landscape photographs often show a famous tourist destination or landmark, with the beauty of the photographs relying on the beauty of the location itself. My main focus is not on those. Instead, it may be a view of nooks or corners, a small piece of a wide field, an interesting shape, a tone or a group of colours. They often don't have a name, like monuments do, and because of their transient nature, it can be difficult to go back and re-shoot the same scene.
I was once an irrigation works surveyor. I have walked through weeds that were taller than me, wandering through wild bushlands and passing ducks nests from dawn till dusk. These wilderness experiences and my hands-on landscape paintings not only give me a certain degree of landscape architectural competence but have strange influences on my aesthetic preferences and how I approach my photography.
When I set out to capture a photograph I find myself attracted to capturing the natural world, rather than the people who occupy it. My pictures generally don't contain cityscapes, sail boats or other such human constructions. I take a tent, a sleeping bag and cooking utensils. I go somewhere outside the city, camp out for a few days, and the only thing I do is walk and photograph. It is my belief that scenic photography contains an angle that is overlooked by many and it has its own sense of novelty and beauty. It can be sung and recited. It is a song and a poem.
The human figure generally belongs to the foreground of an image and scenery is merely a backdrop. Most commonly, the human figure is seen as active and dynamic, occupying the 'top layer' while the scenery is still and relatively stable, occupying the 'bottom layer'. The human figure is heralded as the master and the scenery is modestly subordinated.
For me, the living space should be the subordinate. I see the characteristic of scenic photography as synonymous with and in harmony with our living space.
When I enter my dwelling after a day filled with work, what I am after is a resting place, one piece of pure art, a small patch of pure nature — a place to turn my eyes away from daily tasks and thoughts.
I feel that I have found myself as well as the most suitable place for my landscape photographs.
(Introduction of Jim Chen's book "Unseen Australia", 2010)
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