I took these pictures on the north side of campus, mostly in the fields near Columbia Lake which were sufficiently empty for me to engage in explorations of existential dread and such. Honestly, I think with these sorts of things the line between picturesque and sublime is a bit blurry, though here I think the pictures fall more toward the picturesque – essentially abandonment, resignation of a human-structured word to natural forces, most obviously emphasized here by the endless fields of snow, most of it untouched by human activity. There are human-placed items, most obviously signs, at the centre of these that have a definite function as part of a world of order, which have been placed there by human action in certain roles, but the human agency is now gone and the scene is abandoned to the ever-present snow that slowly makes its mark on everything, in a way that can’t be helped (as one of the pictures emphasizes in a sort of silly way). Rather than “shock and awe” of purely sublime pictures, I think these show a sort of a reminder of chaos that shows itself in subtle ways. So, picturesque? You tell me.
On the other hand, I think abandonment and ruins are not neccesarily only picturesque, and can really be sublime and incredibly striking. My absolute favorite example, which I’m ashamed to post next to my crummy pictures, is this mind-blowing (IMHO) scene from Tarkovsky’s “Stalker”:
(Perhaps that one should’ve gone up on the projector today as an example?)