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Featured Finalist: Peter Solness

Sandstone Ridge, looking north. 2009

I began experimenting with torchlight to illuminate landscapes in 2008, but it was not until I came across this sublime location at the Royal National Park south of Sydney in 2009, that I genuinely came to understand the aesthetic value of hand-lighting landscapes. Not every landscape is suitable for hand-lighting (light painting). Certain textures, shapes and tones work better than others. But the elements in this location were perfect. The bushes, plants, trees and sandstone all came to life under the considered application of my hand-held torch. When I studied this image back at the studio I knew I had hit upon something special. It was a cathartic moment! There was something painterly in the image’s rendition of objects, yet it still maintained the optical clarity of a photograph. It felt like the convergence of two formerly disparate disciplines: painting and photography. There was a heady sense that a whole new aesthetic could now be explored, and in the process, a new way of depicting this ancient Australian landscape. Hence this image was the catalyst for my ‘Illuminated Landscape’ project, which in essence was born on that January night in 2009, and is still going strong today.

Peter Solness 2013

Peter Solness’ image is a finalist in the 2013 Head Off Landscape Prize. A small amount of places are still available for Peters’ workshop on July 5. More details bookings


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Head On Photo Awards 2024

Entries to the Head On Photo Awards 2024 open in May/June.

Image detail: Gary Ramage