Photographing Nature in the Urban Environment

A stand of trees amongst the stone and glass of the Shell building on the corner of Flinders and Spring Streets in Melbourne, Australia

Here’s a somewhat post modern scene featuring a small section of the Shell building on the corner of Flinders and Spring Streets in Melbourne, Australia. I think it’s beautiful, though the notion of trees coming out of rock is pretty surreal. While it works in Angkor Wat, Cambodia my preference, in my own neck of the woods, is for grass.

Melbourne has beautiful and expansive parks surrounding the CBD, but very little of the natural world exists inside the city itself. For years folks have pleaded for some grass, amongst all the concrete.

What Are Your Photos About?

Other than the obvious social commentary regarding our need for even a semblance of nature in our daily lives, be that trees in concrete or calendars on our walls, I like the image because it’s really a study of line, surface and texture.

The Art of Seeing

I think it's useful trying to avoid understanding things simply through the process of identification (e.g., tree, stone, glass and pebbles). We may well be hard wired to do so, but I find it far more interesting connecting with images in a very different way.

In this case the photo is, initially at least, about elements of composition. However, I'm hoping it also elicits an emotive response and perhaps suggests interpretations that are less than obvious. Making images that connect, on an emotional level, are what matters most.

Subject Matter - Yada, Yada, Yada

There’s just so much more to photography than subject matter. Sometimes it’s the least most important aspect of the photograph. As a case in point the great Ansel Adams made photos that, to my mind, are much more about weather and the luminous qualities of light than they are about mountains, lakes and trees. And understanding his photography in this way takes the viewing experience to another level entirely.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru