Our mind is moving into the image, creating a link between the image and our consciousness that places us in that landscape. This is the great dance of the mind, our ability to create for ourselves an apparent world in relationship to an object of perception.
The experience of nature itself is not necessarily comfortable, it is not responsive to our preferences, it is profoundly neutral in that respect, and as much as we struggle to subdue nature it does not allow our anthropocentric arrogance its due. Although maybe more comfortable, it goes without saying that sitting and looking at images of nature is not the same experience as being there, but maybe it is necessary to understand what is going on when we look at the image and acknowledge this other experience.
An image can persuade us of its reality because of the way our mind apprehends the world, we construct the world as a series of events, each seemingly a totality in itself. And this is what an image represents, a momentary glimpse interpreted as a totality. The mind is seduced. It is seduced into constructing a reality that of course does not exist, instead we construct a mood, creating wonderful fantasies of what being in nature is like.
The word nature is a label, a name that we have come to identify with the “natural” world. (Natural: being without artifice, not being related to the constructed world of we humans.) Nature as such becomes an entity, a thing out there, an object to be dealt with as we see fit. And so has been the prevailing wisdom of the Western world for quite some time now.
Nature itself is a process, a dynamic inter-connection of patterns that extend throughout the entire universe. To be connected to nature is to be connected to the universe. Being in nature is our recognition of being part of the “natural order of things”, being part of the physical manifestation of consciousness.
Nature can only exist in relation to us, to the consciousness that paints the landscape, that walks into the landscape, that sets itself up against the forces that shape the universe. We are nature, but we also insist on defining nature as apart from us.
When we look at an image of a landscape we are not seeing the paint, the photographic grains or the printed dots that go to make the image apparent, and we are not seeing the landscape itself.