Back in the mid-1970s, there was a movement to ease away from traditional landscape photography. It was born out of a desire to present the modern landscape as it actually existed rather than in an idealized way. They wanted to use the camera to record with precision exactly what was in front of the lens; to view the world with a detached, unemotional, deadpan eye; to reduce the subject of the photograph to an essentially topographic state.

In other words, they wanted to include all the extraneous crap that traditional landscape photographers tried so hard to exclude. The ugly, chaotic, messy, jarring stuff.

But here’s a problem: Humankind has spent something like twelve thousand years unconsciously building the foundation of aesthetics. It’s really difficult to toss all that aside. That’s a lot of human nature to overcome. It’s hard NOT to see beauty.

Because it’s usually there. And Leonid Paulov often finds it.

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