Colberg (2012) describes his work as contemporary landscape photography, but notes that it's not what we would expect. I have to agree, and find his images varied and very interesting. I am currently reading Freeman's 'Perfect Exposure' book, which fits in nicely, as De Ridder makes very good use of a wide variety of exposure situations, from almost pure whites (e.g. Shadow Peak) to almost pure blacks (e.g. Federispitz) filling the frame, and a whole variety in-between. He also makes good use of geometric elements in some of his images, such as the strong triangles reflecting mountains in lakes (e.g. Bergwald), and some very low horizons in the frames. He shoots directly into the sun in a couple of images (e.g. Pine Mountain Lake), which results in an almost totally blown out, high-key image, but yet gives a hint of the landscape which is mysterious and compelling. He obviously pre-visualises his images very carefully and chooses the resulting exposure with a great deal of care and precision. Some of his 'landscapes' appear busy and messy and chaotic (e.g. Crystal Ridge) - rather like nature itself (I do find these images less appealing)! Placing the horizon in the centre of the frame may 'break' the rule of thirds, but it certainly doesn't appear to distract from the atmosphere of the image in the slightest. A couple of images appear 'other-worldly', such as Trollvassbu, which appears to be a night-time scene (deep blue-black sky), but yet the foreground grassy plain appears to be lit from the side with low light. Perhaps it is taken during a storm with the lighting changing quickly.
|Shadow Peak, by Misha De Ridder. Taken for personal study purposes.|
|Federispitz, by Misha De Ridder. Taken for personal study purposes.|
|Bergwald, by Misha De Ridder. Taken for personal study purposes.|
|Pine Mountain Lake, by Misha De Ridder. Taken for personal study purposes.|
|Trollvassbu, by Misha De Ridder. Taken for personal study purposes.|
I read a book review on Photo-eye.com by Bell (2011), and liked this quote about the horizon:
"Cutting through the center of the frame, the horizon creates a doubling effect that is simultaneously disorienting and hypnotic."Images from De Ridder's book 'Abendsonne' can be seen at the photoeye website in a 'booktease'. All the images in the book are of the mountains and lake with the lake reflecting the sky and mountains, with the horizon dead in the centre of the frame. It is visually confusing and combined with quite erethral lighting, makes for a wide variety of fascinating images.
A conversation with the artist on the Lay Flat blog (2012) gives the following quote from De Ritter, in reaction to a question as to whether his work is 'sublime' as it is often described:
"I aim to explore the boundaries, the world beyond the threshold, the limits of the light, the limit of our presence, by observing, feeling, and to attempt to demonstrate what cannot actually be photographed."This sounds like a bold aim!
If this is modern landscape photography then I'm interested in seeing more work like it! The images are beautiful but not at all conventional, visually stunning and certainly not as simple as they might appear initially.
Bell, A (2011), Photo-eye Magazine [online] Available from http://www.photoeye.com/magazine/reviews/2011/10_20_Abendsonne.cfm [Accessed 31 May 2012]
Colberg, J. (2012), Conscientious Blog [online], Available from http://jmcolberg.com/weblog/2012/04/misha_de_ridder/ [Accessed 31 May 2012]
De Ridder, M. (2012), Misha De Ridder Website [online], Availabe from http://www.mishaderidder.com [Accessed 31 May 2012]
Freeman, M. (2009), Perfect Exposure. East Sussex: Ilex
Gunhouse, C. (2012), Layflat Blog [online] Available from http://www.layflat.org/a-conversation-with-misha-de-ridder/http://www.layflat.org/a-conversation-with-misha-de-ridder/ [Accessed 31 May 2012]