Thursday, 5 July 2012

Tony Whittle Analysis

This is a closer view of the storm beaten tree on Rushup Edge Nr Castleton. Taken on a very cold 17 th of December 2011.

Tony Whittle’s philosophy for taking photographs is to make the most out of every weather opportunity in our countryside. He is based in the Heart of the Peak District and is ranked one of the UK’s highest regarded landscape photographers.

This image is titled ‘Mam Tor & Twisted Tree’ and was taken on Rushup Edge Nr Castleton. Even if the date of when this photograph was taken was not on Whittle’s website, I would have guessed that this image was taken during the winter as most of his work is predominantly taken within the United Kingdom. At first glance it looks as if the photograph has been taken of an oddly shaped tree on a hill side. After looking more closely at the image, in the background the land almost peaks which would suggest to me that the photograph was either taken on a small mountain or at the top of a valley. It is pretty noticeable that the entire ground and some parts of the tree are covered in snow and probably some ice. It is hard to tell what time of day it is due to the sky being a foggy, grey colour suggesting more incoming snow or the last of it had just fallen. The tree itself in the foreground of the image looks as if it has been warped by the wind, possibly growing that way because there are constant winds in a similar direction. It is hard to say whether this image is in black and white or colour due to the only shades captured being white (the snow), black (the tree and the grass) and grey (the sky). Just underneath the tree, it looks like there is a rather big dip in the ground, although it is hard to see with the snow covering the ground, the dip could suggest that during warmer months, a river or stream may flow near it. Something that seems quite obvious after looking at this photograph for a while, is that the tree captured in the foreground of the image, seems to be the only tree in that area.

I wasn’t able to find a meaning for this photograph, and like most landscape images I tend to think there are not many other than for the purposes of displaying nature’s beauty. The first meaning that comes to my head when looking at this photograph is that the tree resembles the feeling / portrays that of loneliness as it is the only tree there. Yet, even though it is alone, it has still grown and lived. Perhaps not the most straight forward life shown through the twists in its trunk, but still a good one as it braves another hard time; this case being the winter months. A less positive look on the image is that perhaps the tree is twisted and low to the ground due to the weight of the wind blowing against it and the snow falling on it, just like how a person can crumble under too much stress and burdens. The lack of colour in the photograph due to the natural weather conditions at the time when it was taken, add a very cold feel to the image. Naturally, to those who know of snow I’m assuming would get that feeling of coldness when looking at an image of snow, but to me it also feels so because of the blandness of the sky. In so many photographs of the natural world you see dazzling blue skies or sky filled with various hues of grey cloud, but on this image, just a flat grey. I feel that this is what sets this image apart from others.

I do enjoy looking at this photograph, so much of the weather caught in the image I believe can be felt emitting from it if you look at it long enough. The dark, contrasting colour of the bark of the twisted tree helps to bring a focal point to the image and various interpretations.

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