Not-So Grand Landscapes

I was recently re-reading a short article published in LensWork 51 by North Carolina-based photographer Joe Lipka entitled Photographing the Not-So Grand Landscape. In it, he contrasts the grand landscapes of the American west with the approach he adopted to photographing the ‘small landscape’ of Carpenter, North Carolina – one more akin to documentary photography, questioning where one ends and the other begins.

The article was an interesting read as most of my recent landscape photography has been within a short drive of home. Few, if any, of the locations I’m visiting could be described as ‘grand’ or even ‘iconic’ though some might just make the description of being quirky. I’ve revisited locations multiple times, at different times of day and in different weather conditions, when they are busier and when they are quiet. It has given me the chance to play with different compositions and lighting.

It may not be the Lake District or Scotland, but exploring my local area has given me a better understanding of the photographic opportunities it presents in terms of landscape and its rich heritage. Rutland is the UK’s smallest county and its landscape of broad, rolling ridges and secluded valleys has a quiet, remote and rural character with small villages and scattered farms. It is criss-crossed by a network of narrow country lanes, tracks and footpaths interspersed by small thickets, copses and woodlands, some of them ancient remnants of once larger forests. At its centre is Rutland Water, one of Europe’s largest artificial lakes. Rutland’s moto Multum in Parvo, “much in little” seems rather appropriate for a focus on the Not-So Grand landscape.

Hambleton Peninsula, Rutland

One thought on “Not-So Grand Landscapes

  1. Thank you for introducing me to Joe Lipka! I’ll be watching his feed. I’ve spent a lot of time in the wide open spaces of the American west but this year I’m retreating and regrouping. I intend on spending most of my photographic time here in San Diego County. I’m fortunate that we have a very diverse landscape so I can explore sea-to-desert on any given day. Those small intimate scenes are special in their own way and resonate on a personal level. It’s also worth pointing out that they are unique. Your images of Rutland may be of the few meaningful explorations published; something that is always worth doing.

    Take care,


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