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News & Insight

Matthew Brandt’s Landscape Photography

By Ruth Dunn on March 29th 2013

For decades photographers have sought to capture the power, beauty and uniqueness of the landscapes they set their lens to. Los Angeles artist Matthew Brandt takes the notion of capturing the landscape to a whole new level in photographs where he uses physical elements from the very subject itself in the process of developing his prints.

Over the past four years Brandt has been  experimenting with the processes of photography to produce some incredible results. In his photographic series Lakes and Reservoirs, Brandt collected water from the specific lakes or reservoirs he was shooting, took his colour prints back to the darkroom and  soaked the prints in water from the specific lake or reservoir they represent.  This process has produced some amazing effects where some photographs have developed with an intense red or yellow tint, some take on psychedelic swirls, some painterly qualities and others burnt out patches in interesting shapes and sizes.

Matthew Brandt, American Lake WA E3 C-print soaked in American Lake water, 2011

Matthew Brandt, American Lake WA E3 C-print soaked in American Lake water, 2011

After seeing one of Brandt’s lake photographs—of a lake in California—James Crump, chief curator of the Cincinnati Art Museum, described it as being:

“like a magnetic field pulling you.”

In other series, such as Trees, Brandt used paper and charcoal made from the wood of the trees he photographed. These works take on textured, earthy qualities which evoke a sense of tactility and connection to the physical subject.

In the digital age of seamlessness and perfection, Brandt’s photographs, developed by chance and exploration, are all the more engaging and fascinating.

To see more of Brandt’s work go to

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Ruth is a Brisbane based journalist specialising in articles about visual art, photography, design and fashion. Co-founder of Raw Ink magazine, she enjoys uncovering interesting and unique events, issues and people to write about.

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Thanks for sharing.

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