Becoming the landscape

Written by Alpenglow Images on June 13th, 2010

A while ago, David Leland Hyde asked a simple question, “Why are you a landscape photographer?” I offered my answer, and I even blogged (loosely) on it, but the answer didn’t truly dawn on me until today.

While on a hike this afternoon, we found a carcass of a gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus).  Watching it lay in the grass, I immediately saw in my mind’s eye an evocative black and white photo.  More than that, though, I saw myself.  You see, regardless of how much I work to prolong my life, I will undoubtedly eventually meet the same fate as that fox.  In other words, I will eventually become part of the landscape.

So, perhaps in the same way that other people document their family tree, I photograph landscapes because I want to document my family tree.  My ancestors.  Those who roamed the land before I did.  In this way, I am realizing my sense of place, and am making my connection with the land tangible.

carcass of a gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)

Gray Fox, June 2010


7 Comments so far ↓

  1. Thanks for the link, Greg, and the insightful post. I doubt my teeth will outlast the rest of my body as this poor fellow’s have. However, I do see that I am just like him in a fundamental way. Perhaps photography is in some ways an acceptance of death and our oneness with the land in the end. Then again, perhaps photography can also be a railing against death, a refusal to heed the call, to immortalize something before we go.

  2. Thanks for the thoughts, David. I think you might have a point…perhaps we’re also “railing against death.” in our efforts to document, immortalize. I think that for each of us, the reasons for taking photographs run very deep, and there are several branches to our reasoning. Thanks–as always–for your thoughts…

  3. Great image, Greg, wonderfully processed, and it certainly works symbolically. I like how the grass looks like the piles of animal hair you sometimes find in the woods, and how it’s a little hard to distinguish from the fox parts. Definitely reinforces the “Becoming the Landscape” idea.

  4. Alister Benn says:

    This is a really neat post Greg. I always loved the line “We are made of the dust of the stars” – it’s why I studies Astronomy & Astrophysics at uni.

  5. John Barly says:

    Interesting post. However, there is more hope than just becoming part of the landscape. If we except Christ as Lord and our replacement for sin, we will have an eternity with him (see Romans 10:9).

    • Hi, John, thank you for stopping by, and for sharing your own view of the world–all of these points of view help to make it a creative and diverse place that I’m really grateful for!

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