Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Recommendations

A couple of recommendations:

I've mentioned Finnish photographer Pentti Sammallahti before.  He is without doubt the Zen master of monochrome landscape photography, and practically the only photographer I know who can use a panoramic camera without resorting to clich√©, or drawing more attention to the means of production than the end product.  In fact, only the peerless Josef Koudelka comes close.

A book which is a retrospective collection of the whole range of Sammallahti's outstanding work has been published this year.  It is a multinational effort, with Finnish, French, German and English versions available.  I bought the German version, Hier weit entfernt, from Kehrer Verlag.  This was partly because it was published earliest, but also because I know how highly the Germans prize production values in book publishing (I also bought the German version of the reissue of Koudelka's classic Gypsies last year for the same reason).  It is an outstandingly beautiful book.  The English version is titled Here, Far Away, and is now available from publisher Dewi Lewis, who also knows a thing or two about photo-book production.  I haven't seen a copy, but I assume it's pretty much identical, and recommend it unreservedly: treat yourself.

I have also mentioned musician and poet Richard Skelton before.  Richard recently announced the availbility of a new recording, Verse of Birds, as well as a new edition of his astonishingly original and thought-provoking landscape-based bookwork Landings, both available directly from his Corbelstone Press.   Richard's work is austere, melancholy, uncompromisingly personal, and intensely engaged with the particularity of his local landscapes (he has recently moved to Ireland) -- the impact of human settlement, the ambient soundscape, and the cohabiting wildlife.  His products are among the most beautifully-made and elegantly-conceived I have ever seen from a small press.  Again, highly recommended.

I wish I could add a third recommendation to an e-book of some of my own recent work, but this is still very much a work in progress.  As I have often said in this blog, sequencing your work is every bit as creative and demanding as making the actual photographs. Sometimes, as has happened this time, it is only when you come to put pictures end-to-end that you realise there are gaps and loose ends that render the project incomplete or incoherent.

It's easy, of course, just to say, "Sod it!", and put the work out anyway.  Who would know or notice?  But I have the good fortune of only having myself to please, and I am not yet pleased.  Besides, given the standard of the work recommended above, who would not think, "Perhaps not just yet....".



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