Photography has a way of instantly transporting us to the scene unfolding within it, whether it be emotional or physical, or a sensation of some kind.
This is particularly true when it comes to viewing landscape photography set in nature. We can recall the sound of tree canopies rustling overhead, the feeling of diving underwater or hot sand underfoot, the smell of a storm brewing on the horizon. Escapism in its purest form. If the work is good, we can experience this through not only the photographer’s eyes but the subject’s, too. And when that subject is nature, it can prove to be pretty powerful stuff.
Although nature’s majesty runs the risk of falling flat in the digital realm, more often than not, landscape photography serves to remind us how precious Mother Earth really is. When you come across photos that amplify the fragility of the natural world and our relationship with it, photos that make you look and then again, they’re ones worth sharing. Here are five photographers remind us that nature really is the ultimate muse.
David Benjamin Sherry
David Benjamin Sherry is a Los Angeles-based photographer who uses colour to create emotional resonance between his work and the viewer. His series, American Monuments, looks at our relationship to landscape and climate change by capturing rural scenery in the American wilderness that has recently lost its protected status (thanks largely to none other than the Trump Administration). Shot on an 8×10 large-format film camera and printed in monochromatic hues of neon pink, blue, yellow, green and purple, the artist’s work advocates vibrantly for the protection of these sublime landscapes.
Rolling green hills and dark sandy beaches around Auckland, New Zealand is where you’ll find photographer Nicole Brannen. In her work that bridges the gap between personal and editorial, Brannen shoots her friends immersed in plant life, hanging out on cliff faces and wandering through dense valleys. These are the kind of pictures that you want to surround yourself with, melt into and become a part of.
Everyday objects swarm together mid-air and cascade down sand dunes or rocket through fields in the work of Thomas Jackson. Inspired by systems in nature such as termite mounds, swarming locusts, schooling fish and flocking birds, the San Francisco-based artist uses unexpected materials like plastic cups and plates, tulle fabric, and hula hoops to create epic installations in nature. Blending the real and imaginary, Jackson’s photographs evoke fear and fascination in the best kind of way.
Looking at the connection between humans and nature are what inspires Australian-American photographer, Brooke Holm. Shooting from a birds-eye-view, Holm captures aerial landscapes of locations around the world that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Based in New York, the artist travels to UNESCO World Heritage Areas and beyond, with photography from Shark Bay in Western Australia, the Arctic polar region, and Namibia. Looking up with the help of NASA, she’s even captured the surface of the moon.
Based in Los Angeles, Justin Chung photographs people, places and the small things in-between. With a knack for capturing natural light, his images are bathed in a hazy warmth not easily replicated. From the deserts of Nevada and Morocco to the mountains and beaches of California, Chung’s work takes viewers into dusky corners of greenery and expansive landscapes that seem to go on forever.