Rannerdale and Dodd, Crummock.Rannerdale and Dodd, Crummock.

A familiar sight?

April 29, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Fleetwith Pike mirrored.Fleetwith Pike mirrored.

Living within a few minutes walk of the Lake District is wonderful in many ways and I feel immensely privileged to be so close to such beautiful scenery.

Sometimes it feels difficult to make a photograph that is in some small way original and not an unintended duplicate of some other’s work.

The National Park has been a source of inspiration for many and consequently there are photographs (paintings, sketches, videos etc) that often have something of a familiar look to them.

Whilst Octavio Paz suggested that notions of originality are the cliches of our time, do you really want to do that which everyone else has already done, unless it can be better or sufficiently different?

As photographer Ming Thein says: “Clearly, originality is not required for success… The same may not necessarily apply with art, but I’m pretty sure it does in photography: who hasn’t been tempted to try street photography after seeing the work of HC-B? Or landscapes after Ansel?”

Whilst I don’t like the idea of trying to recreate a famous image (as you can when using the famous photography spots in Yosemite), I don’t think it should put you off creating an image of something that has a well trodden path leading to it.

If I feel I can put something of myself into the interpretation of a familiar view, I think it can make the difference between imitation and originality. As landscape photographer Destin Sparks said: “Photography is inspired by beauty, captured with passion.” For me the passion is the something of myself that I put into the image, the part that drives me to scramble up a steep fell or venture out very early or late in the day.

Sometimes it is a matter of looking at something familiar from a different perspective. I have often driven up and down the A66 between Cockermouth and Keswick and appreciated the view as I drove along. The recent Coronavirus lockdown has meant that daily exercise should be brief and local and so I have been exploring local walks in the hope of finding creative inspiration as well as getting the benefits of the exercise in itself. One evening I walked to the top of Slate Fell and was rewarded with this view of Embleton CP with the A66 running down the middle.



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Photographing the landscape around me is a very important part of my life. I frequently feel compelled to spend some time out there enjoying the beauty of nature and trying where possible to make an image that reflects that majesty of my surroundings here in the Lake District.

My aim with this blog is to share some of my thoughts and pictures in the hope that they encourage you.

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