Romanticism and Activism – a Comparison of the Work of Fay Godwin and Sebastiao Salgado

3542 Words Jun 27th, 2012 15 Pages
Romanticism and Activism – A comparison of the work of Fay Godwin and Sebastiao Salgado, to ascertain the degree to which they are romantics and how their images may move the viewer to action.

This essay will contrast how romanticism has influenced the photographic practice of Fay Godwin and Sebastiao Salgado, and how this approach in turn can start to affect environmental activism. The framework will specifically be within a genre defined by photographer David Ward, as ‘Romantic landscape’, (Ward, 2004, p.104). See plate 1.

Plate 1

Ward describes his approach as seeking to
‘evoking emotional responses from anonymous places’ (Ward, 2012)
Highlighting a romantic approach of connecting with emotions.
If an individual has an
…show more content…
See Plate 3

Plate 3

On a simple level this is a young man out for a walk, looking over a mist contained within a valley, on a deeper level it is likely that this image will evoke deeper feelings within any viewer, feelings pertaining to the beauty of nature, humans’ relationship to nature and possibly a desire to protect such views.

This depiction of the relationship between the human and the landscape, is also contained with many of the images analysed within the essay.

As the poet and critic Charles Baudelaire wrote in 1846,

"Romanticism is precisely situated neither in choice of subject nor in exact truth, but in a way of feeling." (Galitz, 2004)

It is how the artist conveys what they are feeling which is at the core of this essay and romanticsm.

Ward stated that “a study of the natural world was central to Romanticism”. (Ward,2004, p.57. Certainly Salgado and Godwin in their work have held the natural world at the centre of everything they have done.

An early and reknown landscape photographer was Ansel Adams and as Ward comments
“Adams was very definitely a man who made photographs that were mirrors, art which reflected him and his vision. This is

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