I didn't capture the landscape, it captured me

Thoughts on impermanence

While I've been on the Norwegian island of Senja, I have been thinking a lot about the snowy weather and the wild mountain peaks that surround me.

These mountains have been here for a very long time. They have stood, facing the elements for a duration that I can only begin to imagine, let alone comprehend, and comparatively speaking, I have only been here for the shortest moment of their existence.

Coastal scene, Island of Senja, Norway

Coastal scene, Island of Senja, Norway

This has made me consider my own ideas about permanence, and that I have a tendency to relate to the landscape 'within my own timeline' and  think of it as being part of my story, when in fact I am a tiny part of its story.

The landscape has seen more than I will ever do, it has witnessed and been part of land reforming over many millennia. To think that my images may convey this landscape and 'capture' it is quite a ridiculous notion because the landscape is more powerful and permanent than anything I will ever do, or achieve. The mountains I have walked over and  the rivers I have crossed are a reminder of my own impermanence. It's a humbling thought.

It raises the question about the importance of my photographs and the illusion that my images have some form of permanence: my photographs are just as transient as I am. If I am lucky at best, my images will continue to exist for a little while longer once I am gone.

This has made me wonder if I place too much importance upon my work. I feel that I may have my views on my own work out of proportion to the bigger picture since it is the landscape that has more of a right to permanence than any photograph I will ever create.  

I do not 'capture' the landscape. Instead, it is the landscape that captures me.