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Let us first make a distinction between photographs of the countryside and landscapes, to contrast the latter with urban photography. It is an art form where the human element, however tenuous, remains key. Lyricism or romanticism may nourish photographs of the countryside, but the "natural state" yields its place to life organized along the rhythms of the seasons and work in the fields. 
No wonder this photographic genre was inspired by scenes commonly depicted by painters such as Millet (l'Angélus) or Manet (Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe). The radiant female figure in the middle of the fields is obviously an allegory of mother earth. 

The portraits of peasants from Vosges by Rene-Jacques and the photos from the film by Jean Renoir "Une partie de Campagne," are characterized by a natural realism, light and sensual for the filmmaker, unvarnished and uncompromising for the photographer. 
The countryside thus depicted represents a certain ideal of happiness, of harmony in our relationship with the world: for the performance artist, Gina Pane, the source, the genesis of thought, of action and of all forms of aesthetics.
Käsebier Gertrude (1852-1934)
Paris, musée d'Orsay
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