Ever. I felt like a teenager on Facebook saying that….
I don’t normally go for such titles, but in this case it is a fair description for the book I am going to talk about: Landmark, The Fields of Landscape Photography – published by Thames and Hudson. I wonder how many ‘generalist’ books you’ve bought that have proven really disappointing? Monographs tend to have a distinctive vision. They are a edited with passion and often printed and bound to a high standard, because the team behind them knows that fine art photography lovers are a particular bunch. The book is also running point for a single artist’s endeavours. However, generalist books that display work from a range of artists tend to be aimed at a wider audience and one that is often less demanding when it comes to quality; and that extends from the quality of the book itself through to the content. I have found most a let down and some painfully bad. But this book is different.
Landmark is far and away the best ‘general’ landscape photography book I have ever owned, or seen. It is a good sized hardback (31.8 x 3 x 26.4cm) and feels nice and solid. Print quality is excellent, with plenty of richness and details to the 200 or so plates and colours are rendered in a manner that gives the distinct impression that the artist would approve.
The book is divided into different ‘fields’ of landscape photography, with a concise introduction in each case. It works too. Creating perfectly distinct compartments is impossible and you could happily move a few images between sections with no ill effect, but it’s a neat way of laying out the book so that it does not become a blur of assorted images.
And this is what is so wonderful about this book: the selections made (by William A. Ewing) has made are absolutely tremendous. Image after image takes your breath away and they just keep coming. I haven’t needed to be selective in photographing this book, because it is such a diverse and concentrated distillation of some of the finest landscape photography in the world. There is one assumption I am going to make here and that is you like images that haven’t abandoned aesthetic considerations altogether. To be clear, plenty of the photos in this book ‘look great’. Diehards of the Düsseldorf School persuasion may be less impressed.
Another reason for loving this book is that it is colourblind. I am not even sure if that makes sense, but what I am getting at is that I think the selection of images will appeal immensely to both colour and B&W photographers. I am primarily concerned with the latter, but the colour images in this book really excite me. They make me think more about possible future colour projects than ever before, not because of any rational argument or analysis of the art market, but simply by displaying so many compelling colour images and in such a harmonious way.
I’m not sure there is much more for me to say! If you like the images I’ve shown, you will love the book. If you are looking for inspiration with your colour work, or for a ‘one stop’ cross section of contemporary easy on the eye colour landscape photography, I can’t think of a better book to buy. At £26 in the UK, it is also an absolute steal. Enjoy!