Depth of Field, volume 7, no. 1 (December 2015)Maartje van den Heuvel: New ‘Masters’ of Dutch Landscape. Photographs of the Most Man-Made Land in the World

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The generic landscape

Some artists also tried to photograph the essence of the new urbanized and industrialized landscape. Frank van der Salm (b. 1964) does so by making his photographs slightly out of focus. (Fig. 8) Detail and specificity make way for the global shapes within the environments. By also giving his photos generic names like Square or Network, he tries to define types of landscape (or cityscape) instead of specific places. Edwin Zwakman (b. 1969) has a comparable interest in the generic modern landscape. However, he depicts it through a different approach and technique. In his studio, Zwakman constructs scale models of elements of the Dutch landscape. He does not work from concrete existing examples or photographs, instead he explores what the modern Dutch landscape is in his mind by building the models from his own imagination and then photographing them to make them look real. (Fig. 9) Moreover, he made these works during a period when he was working in a studio in England. Therefore, landscape elements like the electricity pylons in his photographs are often not accurate depictions of these structures in real life.

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Fig. 8. Frank van der Salm, Network, 2006, chromogenic print, 100 x 272 cm, commissioned by Interpolis.

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Fig. 9. Edwin Zwakman, Fly-over III, 2003, chromogenic print, 220 x 168 cm.