If anyone had asked me before I started this course what type of photographer I would like to be I would have said a landscape photographer without any hesitation. Recent ventures into macro and flower photography in particular may have broadened my outlook somewhat but I only have to look at good landscape photographs to get that tingling feeling in the back of my neck. The first photography book I ever bought was ‘The making of Landscape Photographs’ by Charlie Waite, my copy was published in 1992 and it was everything that I aspired to as a photographer; intensity, colour, calm, drama, shape, form….. I recently fished this book out again, purely because I was thinking about colour and it had the same effect as the first time I read it. The vast majority of photographs in this book were taken on either Fujichrome or Ektachrome film with a large format camera using only aperture and the length of exposure to control the outcome and occasionally using filters to get a specific desired effect.
Having recently looked at Waite’s website, I was amazed to find many of the original photographs from the book still there in the gallery, this picture of ‘Marina di Albarese, Tuscany is an example, taken on Fujichrome 100 ASA with a wide-angle lens and exposure of 1/60 seconds at f/11. When I look at this, I see the blue and orange complementary colours as well as vertical lines and triangles from the ‘elements of design’ part of TAOP. The photographer talks about the success of this picture being down to ‘the precise visual arrangement of the parts within a highly mobile landscape’, Waite, 1992, p118, at the moment the picture was taken. Charlie Waite’s photographs are describes as having ‘an almost spiritual quality’ http/www.charliewaite.com/biography [accessed 31 July 2011] and in his introduction to this book he talks of having a strange sensation when he takes a photograph which he knows to be good, when his heartbeat slows down and his whole metabolism seems to slow down to the rate of the landscape itself. ‘A good photograph is a received photograph, an exchange between you and the landscape….’ Waite, C. (1992) The Making of Landscape Photographs, p6. Clearly at one with his art and the world around him; this I suspect is what makes Charlie Waite’s photographs stand out above all others.