This paper explores the meaning and value of the aesthetic appreciation of landscape through photography in an art education context. Aesthetic appreciation, though difficult to define with precision, is an ability involving perceptiveness, feeling and judgment. To appreciate aesthetically is to perceive and value something for its own sake, for its own intrinsic qualities. Being an ability appreciation can be fostered through education and practice. Walking, noticing, attending, perceiving, identifying, smelling, and touching are important experiential attributes of appreciation. I discuss the ways in which photography can inspire aesthetic appreciation of landscape, which includes natural and man-made features and qualities. Wolfgang Welsch argues that we have a primordial relation with nature that comes before concepts. This situates humans as biologically and sensually connected to the cosmos, rather than being a separate center and creator of reality that is the standard Western epistemological position. Through landscape photography students can exercise their creative abilities, feel more connected to the earth and at times realize outcomes that have aesthetic meaning. My key ideas are that a child’s experience of landscape is important because it is an opportunity for holistic human development and well-being, second because it can provide many opportunities for aesthetic appreciation and artistic expression, and third because it may well be the case that we would be less likely to harm and degrade what we have come to love. Photographing landscape shapes appreciation and understanding: abilities we need in a world that has still not come to terms with its own imminent ecological dangers.
|Keywords:||Aesthetic, Appreciation, Landscape, Primordial, Photography, Teaching and Learning|
Professor, Arts Education, Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada