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The photography of landscape and time

Le paysage temps photographié

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Published on Thursday, April 26, 2018


Dans la culture occidentale, le paysage a principalement été envisagé en tant que res extensa, étendue spatiale proposée au regard. Mais il constitue aussi un corps complexe, soumis à des perpétuelles évolutions déterminées par des causes hétérogènes, rétroagissant les unes sur les autres. L'auscultation par la photographie de ses morphologies changeantes impose la mise en œuvre de stratégies visuelles, sensibles et empiriques susceptibles de se déployer dans la durée.


22nd and 23rd November 2018, Saint-Étienne


In western culture, landscape was essentially considered as being res extensa, a spatial expanse exposed to view. However it also constitutes a complex body, subject to constant change, influenced by assorted causes, acting retroactively upon each other. These changes, be they parallel or converging, gradual, sudden or intermittent, are not fully predictable and only partially tractable. Habitation of the areas – either by those who settle permanently or stay just temporarily – is also a vector of transformation, linked to everyday habits or customs, to seasonal activities or to events triggering movements, repositioning or sedentary behaviour.   Landscapes are obviously difficult to contain or to plan, appearing as organisms in the throes of constant movement. The photographer’s examination of their changing morphology requires the application of visual, sensitive and empirical strategies that can be deployed over time.

Many photographers develop diachronic approaches. They tend to return to sites in order to observe them over a long period, thus developing series. It is often a case of immersing themselves in the local geography, of living there and taking part, of even creating a form of intimacy. The land is no longer a simple space for fleeting meetings but a place of multi-dimensional and lasting relations. They come to question the spacing, the sedimentations, the losses or gains in depth. The precariousness of the lay-outs are revealed, their emerging forms examined and documented. Landscape experiences are founded on and conditioned by the type of survey used, by the adoption of reasoned cross sections or intermeshed grids, prolonged reconnoitering, or more random meandering; by the choice of going on foot or by car or with other means of transport. The type of equipment used generates different forms of receptivity, conditioning the methods of distancing, permeation and even “metabolization”, as underlined by Gabriele Basilico, referring to his work on European cities. Various strategies can be tried so that the time spent in the field is not restricted to that required to take the shots, but can be extended to longer observation.

In France, since the 1990’s, the Observatoires photographiques du Paysage have recommended a systematic method of rephotography for monitoring sites, whatever their scale. However, for a long time, practices of photographic reproduction have been developed, in parallel of reiterated journeys, crossings and stays. Mark Klett has undertaken two photographic projects in the wake of of historical American topographical surveys. These repeated visits allow permutations to be detected, but also highlight a willingness to claim a form of filiation. A return to the site can be by the same photographer: Ed Ruscha has repeated more than a dozen times the photographic itinerary of Every building on the Sunset Strip. In an entirely different manner the consultation of archives can lead to the observation of persistence and change affecting sites. Very often today photographers combine shots and repeats of existing images within projects aimed at the observation of a site and its transformations. This is more or less what Mathieu Pernot does in relation to public housing complexes. A diachronic perception of places is still possible with a combination of photographs and texts or images taken from internet. Shot taking can also be integrated into the development of architectural or landscaping projects, illustrating their progress.

Submission guidelines

This international conference will deal with the diversity of photographic strategies applied to the examination and observation of landscapes over time. Proposals of 300 words, accompanied by a short bio-bibliographical note should be sent to Jordi Ballesta (jordi.ballesta@laposte.fr) and Danièle Méaux (daniele.meaux@univ-st-etienne.fr)

at the latest by the 1st of June 2018.

The programme will be drawn up before the end of June 2018.

Scientific comity

  • Carmen Andriani (Professor, University of Gênes)
  • Jordi Ballesta (Researcher, Université de Saint-Etienne)
  • Raphaële Bertho (Lecturer, Université de Tours)
  • Georges Gay (Professor, University of Saint-Etienne)
  • Danièle Méaux (Professor, University of Saint-Etienne)
  • Liz Wells (Professeur, University of Plymouth)



  • Saint-Étienne, France (42)


  • Friday, June 01, 2018


  • photographie, paysage, temps, évolution


  • Danièle Méaux
    courriel : daniele [dot] meaux [at] univ-st-etienne [dot] fr

Information source

  • Danièle Méaux
    courriel : daniele [dot] meaux [at] univ-st-etienne [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« The photography of landscape and time », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, April 26, 2018, https://doi.org/10.58079/102g

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