It’s easy to see why mountains, in all their breathtaking grandeur, remain landscape photography favorites. The towering peaks offer many opportunities for photographers to get creative with their shots, from sweeping vistas to abstract masterpieces. Of course, moody mountain scenes are a staple of many landscape photography projects, and I’m sure it’s one of those things that we will never get tired of capturing.
One of my recent favorites is from Germany-based Alexandra Wesche, whose landscape work is comprised of many moody and misty scenes. Her interestingly named series “At the Mountains of Madness” caught my attention in particular because of the fitting reference to the H.P. Lovecraft novella of the same title.
“A vague, ethereal beyondness”
The entire excerpt that Wesche chose to go along with this series is very fitting, but this part really hits the spot for me. The thick cover of fog enveloping the jagged peaks also mostly obscures the background, adding an air of mystery to the scenes. In some of the photos, the fog even blankets most of the landscape, which is most likely what inspired the Lovecraft reference.
“That seething, half-luminous cloud-background held ineffable suggestions of a vague, ethereal beyondness far more than terrestrially spatial,” part of the novella excerpt goes.
Using minimalism for moody landscape photography
As with many landscape photography we’ve showcased so far, minimalism is one of the best ways to set the mood. For this monochrome series in particular, it proved effective in inciting feelings of dread, uneasiness or even danger. Sure, the combination of fog and towering peaks isn’t new. However, Wesche used dark tones and showed portions of an ominously hidden expanse to deliver an eerie sense of place.
I find this series a great example of elevating landscape photography into something more than just a beautiful scenery. Instead, it’s a body of work that works as a whole to spark emotions and inspire imagination in the viewer. I think it will work the same way even without Wesche’s choice to cite H.P. Lovecraft’s novella in the title and the project description. Still, I can’t discount the fact that the haunting words amplified the mood as a whole and perfectly encapsulated what she must have felt as she took these shots.
Are you a landscape photographer looking for inspiration on how to approach the craft? I’m sure this series will give you some ideas. Whether or not you’re into minimalism or moody visuals, it’s always a great idea to explore different approaches as a creative exercise.
All photos by Alexandra Wesche. Used with Creative Commons permission.