Top of the Lake – the power of landscapes!

If, like me, you still get the occasional flashback from Jane Campion’s recent television drama Top of the Lake floating around your head then you will appreciate the power of landscapes. Our American clients across the pond may have watched this series back in March when it first aired in the USA, yet here in London we have had to wait for the BBC broadcast this summer. The final episode, which was aired here in the UK last month, left a haunting impression on our small office and we have been discussing the psychological nuances and dramatic plot twists ever since. Viewers will understand how Top of the Lake’s cold water and high hills, its beautiful yet menacing landscape, its misty air and mossy forests were as influential for the setting and storyline as the characters themselves. The series was filmed near Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island, a location which served as a main inspiration for Jane Campion during the writing process of the script. In a recent interview, Campion explains: “It’s a metaphor in itself in that it can be completely nurturing and beautiful, and other times dangerous and freezing. The story is in tune with the landscape – both extreme and intimate” [1].

Unfortunately (yet unsurprisingly!) akg-images were not on set during the filming of Top of the Lake, but we can take a look at other dramatic landscape photographs from our archive; photos that have the power to convey the emotions we associate with a specific location – be it fear, awe, serenity or nostalgia.

Lofoten, Norway.
Photo, 1997.
© akg-images / Olivier Mériel
Huangshan mountain, China.
Photo, 1997.
© R. u. S. Michaud / akg-images


[1] BBC, 26.06.2013, “Top Of The Lake: production story”. Available at: [Accessed 02.09.2013].