A Sense of Place

On the Low Road to Taos Near Taos, New Mexico, 2015

On the Low Road to Taos
Near Taos, New Mexico, 2015

How closely should a photograph reference the place at which it was taken?

I think back before I got into the practice of photography, and simply was a consumer of photographs, I tended to favor photographs of landscapes that I had personally been to.  I think I’ve always been an observer of the landscape, and on that basis photographs of landscapes that I had personally experienced were more meaningful to me.

When I began making photographs of my own, I think my perception of photographs changed.  I’ve tended to favor photographs of anonymous locations, where one can’t tell simply by viewing the photograph where it was taken.  Perhaps I’ve felt the emphasis should more properly be on the content of the photograph itself, divorced from any associations one might make from knowing the location.

But I wonder if that view really holds up.  When I went to title this image, I could have used a title non-specific as to location, such as “Tree and Mailbox” or “Reaching Tree, Curving Cloud.”  But somehow I felt that the title, and therefore the image, should reference its place at the side of a bend on the Low Road to Taos, New Mexico.

Maybe it’s better not to overthink these things, and just go with your instinct.

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  1. Rick G March 30, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

    Once again, very nice image. It would seem the prevailing winds have tilted both the tree and the mailbox post at the same angle. Nice touch!

    I think you’re on the money about going with your instinct. I’ve found the more instinctual my process is, the more personal my work becomes.


    • admin April 1, 2016 at 10:53 am #

      Thanks, Rick, really appreciate it. I find that most of what I do with photography is mostly by instinct, it’s tough for me to rationalize or intellectualize the process from the top down. On the tree and mailbox, I was indeed fortunate that the tilts fit with the sweep of the cloud so nicely.

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