Hadi Asgari Uses a Technique That Makes Landscapes Look Like Paintings

All images by Hadi Asgari. Used with permission

Getting landscape photos to look different from much of what’s out there often requires some creative trial and error–and Hadi Asgari has seemingly mastered it. Using some methods that have been around for a little while, Hadi’s landscape photos end up looking like paintings. Indeed, they’re a slap in the face to the idea that everything in the photograph needs to be tack sharp and perfectly in focus.

Hadi started shooting photos in 2009. “I’m mostly interested in taking pictures of people.” he tells us in an email. “I’m interested in their stories, thoughts, lives; and want to share something about them and at the same time something about myself in these pictures.” Clearly, that isn’t the case here. In fact, Hadi doesn’t really seem to care a whole lot about gear as he sticks to his Canon 500D, 50mm f1.8 and this Google Nexus 5X. He claims Steve McCurry as his biggest influence and believes Steve’s images are worth a thousand words.

Steve has rubbed off on Hadi, of course. “I mostly try to capture my own vision, but it depends on the picture,” he explains. “Sometimes I just document a scene but often times I have a pre-imagined idea and I try to create that picture.” That’s what we’re getting in his series Nature is Abstract.

Hadi tells us:

“I have always been fascinated with paintings, abstract paintings in particular. In this seriesI have tried to look at nature and visualize it as abstract paintings. I started this series back in 2014 but it was not until 2017 when I got to spend more time on this series to complete it. Majority of the pictures in this body of work are photographed at the north of Iran.”

To create the series in-camera, a photographer can shoot a slow shutter speed and a narrow aperture. Then, in the process of shooting, you simply lift your camera up or down to create the camera-shake effect that you find in Hadi’s images. The idea is to create something that still resembles a landscape, but also give off the feel and look of a watercolor painting. Indeed, Hadi has succeeded. There are a number of photographers who have done this, and it seems to be coming back into style. Before we know it, there may even be easy simulations/digital filters that will do this look easily for you on your phone.