The 2014 Esztergom Photography Biennial focuses on an essential and popular genre of the visual arts, inviting contemporary Hungarians photographers to share their experience of landscapes. It seeks to explore that fundamental, and by now radically altered, relationship between humans and their environment, whether it be natural or built. The transformation of the relation to the land and the landscape is to be underlined because contemporary art, photography included, regularly explores and exposes the associated problems. Which is exactly what the creators of the pictures submitted to the Biennial did.
Several of the works represent non-existent places, just as the urban environment is a popular subject. These two types highlight the changes of the classical landscape over time and with regard to subject matter. The artistic representation of the built environment has always been considered part of the realm of the landscape, and has attained a significance that justifies talking about a subfield of photography (urban landscape).
The Biennial’s theme concerns, above all, emotional relations to the land, the romantic, yearning know since antiquity that humans removed from their natural contexts entertain and project into the land. This bucolic type of the landscape is mystical but not terrifying, facilitating solitude and contemplation In the case of a landscape, the experience is produced by the emotional attitude of the viewer. There is no landscape in and of itself, as it has been invested with a host of symbols from the very beginnings. From gentle through frightening to raging: the land in art serves to represent human emotions. Its power to create tension also makes the landscape a vehicle for historical changes and the moral atmosphere. Never to be understood in its entirety, and never to be conquered, nature has always filled humans with awe and fear, which makes the relationship of nature and soul a relevant parallelism for the representation of human morality.