We're surrounded by landscapes all the time, every day—whether they are spreads of natural splendor or urban environments. So why, when framed by the camera (or canvas) of an artist, do these vistas seem to take on additional meaning? Because landscapes in art are always conceptual projects at their core, embued by a moral, intellectual, or aesthetic component that is not found in nature, but is bestowed by the artist and the viewer. Think about that while exploring the stunning landscape artworks below.
Part of Sebastião Salgado "Genesis" series of photographs depicting untrammeled wilderness around the world, this dramatic Alaskan vista packs an Old Testament-worthy wallop.
In this photograph by the acclaimed artist An-My Lê, the drama of America's war footing plays out during military exercises on the West Coast (note the battleship hazily floating on the horizon).
Seemingly shrouded by an early-morning mist, the Chinese mountains in Hiroji Kubota's photograph loom mystically over the viewer, like figures emerging from a field of pure light.
On first sight a heroic vista of extreme beauty, Olivo Barbieri's cleverly composed photograph becomes a composition of jagged forms, punctuated by expanses of pure white.
This richly detailed photogravure by the artist Vera Lutter, who is known for her use of vintage photography techniques, encircles two of Giza's pyramids in a field of dusky light.
A minimal symphony in blue, this photograph by Orit Raff finds an extraordinarily felicitous geometric composition in the play of weathered shingles against an azure sea and placid sky.
Stacking snapshots of the setting sun as it dips beyond the horizon, this conceptual sequence by the filmmaker TJ Wilcox creates a cinematic progress from supersaturated blaze to purple haze.
Painted at Colorado's Anderson Ranch residency program, Sarah Kurz's cold-bitten portrait of the Rocky Mountains evokes the thrill of the frontier and Romantic notions of the sublime.
Shot in the volcanic landscape of Ólafur Elíasson's native Iceland, this photograph shows a mother and child frolicking in a hot spring while a geothermal power plant lurks imposingly in the background.
In this sweeping landscape by the great Magnum photojournalist David Seymour (better known as "Chim"), a winding road pocked by ancient monasteries cuts through a remote corner of Greece.