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A sense of Scale

Published July 28th, 2011

In a recent post, I discussed how adding a human element to an urban scene makes us connect with an image in ways that an empty building can’t. That human element simply takes the image to another level.

While I have resisted doing the same for natural landscapes for the longest time, I have to admit, that I am always struck by the impact a human figure, as small as it may be, has on a landscape image. Not only does it build a stronger connection between the viewer and the image, but it also adds a sense of scale that is seldom achievable in de-humanized landscape. There was a very good discussion recently that stemmed from the Boston Globe’s Mark Freeney’s critique of photographer QT Luong’s Treasured Lands exhibit (you can see it here). Freeney’s argument was essentially that an “empty” (de-humanized) landscape was sterile, and that it could only come to life if it portrayed the human condition in it. I have to admit that I wasn’t taken with the argument as most landscape photogra ...

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