Tempelhof Airport, Berlin, March 2017

Back in 1975 William Jenkins — a curator at the George Eastman House — drove a stake through the heart of traditional landscape photography. He curated an exhibition of landscape images that were radically different from the usual sweeping, dramatic vistas and the classically beautiful, almost mythic, shots of scenery. Instead, the new landscape photographers took a more documentary approach, examining the modern land and cityscapes with a an eye toward reality, recording the banal, finding something of interest in the industrial.

Forty-some years later, the ‘new’ landscape photography is still seen by some as akin to photographic heresy. But for those who approach landscape photography in this way, it’s liberating. It frees the eye to find non-traditional forms of beauty. It unshackles the photographer to explore the influence of humankind on the natural world, and of the natural world on humankind.

There is beauty here. Tempelhof Airport has imposed itself on the landscape, and there is beauty in that. The landscape will eventually impose itself on Tempelhof Airport, and there will be beauty in that. William Jenkins understood that. So does Silvia Manfredi.

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