The landscape photography merges with the history of the medium, with important consequences in other areas of the visual arts .With the invention of photography, a vast archive on the representation of landscape begins. The exploration trips of the nineteenth century to the different continents, the revelation of exotic places, the railroad expansion in the United States, are the targets for obsessive records. From 1860, some French and British institutions, the army and navy, finance the action of photograph explorers, leading to the collection of important documentary resources. This growing photographic exploration, created in different types of records, mixing the natural landscape with the historic architecture, as in the works of Bayard, le Secq, Baldus and le Gray, after participating in the 1851 heliographic mission. The photographic vision evolves similarly in different countries since its precursors, who propose models of picturesque nature: Roger Fenton in England, Gustave Le Gray in France, Robert MacPherson in Italy, Francis Frith in the Middle East and in the United States, Timmothy O’Sullivan’s work stands out by virtue of the telluric strength of and hostile and desert areas he recorded. Throughout the twentieth century the look over the landscape evolves according to the concerns and interests of each time, reaching its climax in 1975 with the exhibition “New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape” which synthesizes new types of photographic representations of a landscape that is not in the least separated from people and their activities. These are images that show mixed spaces between the natural and the urban that warn us of the fragility of ecosystems and exploitation of natural resources. New landscapes reveal recent housing, roads and factories. By means of this project, we intend to observe the representations of the landscape after the turn of the century and reveal present day looks.
The first edition of Encontros da Imagem took place in 1987. At the time, the national photographic panorama was quite restricted to a small number of authors and exhibitions. Moreover, teaching and reflection on the photographic medium were also scarce. Thus, the festival’s founders sought to fill these gaps by presenting some classic authors in Braga, fundamental to the knowledge and understanding of the History of Photography, and at the same time some essential names of nowadays were also presented. Gradually, the association went on expanding its objectives, which today can be summed up in a few words: divulgation, training and socio-cultural activity.
The Festival Encontros da Imagem intends to confront and reflect upon current photography propositions: from document content, essential to the record and understanding of present time, to the ones which explore and creatively incorporate new image technologies along with the exhibitions EI strive to represent a platform for the promotion of lesser known authors through a critical review of portfolios – Emergentes DST. Conscious of how vital it is to reach larger audiences, some activities for the public in general are also planned within recreational and educational standards: contests, screenings, and instructional activities.