A Mystical and Primeval World

My Canary Island Flickr friend MagicalGarden posted a comment comparing my photo Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls to the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich. As Paul (a/k/a MagicalGarden) put it:

Mystical, primeval world! Wow!!! Could be a painting from Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840).

The image (I mentally dithered a little as I composed this sentence between “photo” and “painting”, but settled on the neutral “image”) that Paul graced with his comment is in the same series as the winter image above and also Yosemite Dreams.

Of course, I am wonderfully flattered by the comparison and the comment. But truth to tell, I was not familiar with the work of Caspar David Friederich before now. Certainly I’ve enjoyed getting to know his work, with his romantic and mystical view of landscape. I see Friederich as a precursor to the luminist painters of the Hudson River school and the American west. It’s too bad that Hitler also liked his work, but not after all the artist’s fault since he died in 1840.

Friedrich wrote:

The painter should paint not only what he has in front of him, but also what he sees inside himself. If he sees nothing within, then he should stop painting what is in front of him.

This is certainly how I view my hybrid art: one part photography, one part digital manipulation, in an attempt to recreate my feelings and vision about the scene rather than a literal recreation of the scene (as if this literal recreation was possible in the first place!).

The problem with heroic and romantic landscape painting by artists like Caspar David Friedrich and Albert Bierstadt, or even the monumental landscape photographs of Ansel Adams, is that the work can verge on the overwrought and sentimental. On the other hand, at its best it is transcendent and spiritual.

Thank you, Paul, for recognizing my aspirations.

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