Book Review

Cover: The Art Of Landscape Photography by Chris Coe. The Art Of Landscape Photography

Author: Chris Coe

Publisher: Fountain Press

ISBN 0-86343-337-5

This is a "how to do" book but equally a guide to developing skills and an individual style. Chris Coe sets out his stall from the very beginning and the reader is in no doubt that this is not a subject that can be reduced to a formula. Throughout the book runs the excellent theme that there is no right way to photograph a landscape, only an individual view based on sound technique. The book takes the reader on a journey through various aspects of landscape photography so that by the end both vision and technical understanding are improved.

This book is very readable and well laid out. Coe makes good use of almost 240 photographs across 142 pages by providing plenty of comparison and illustration shots for each point that he discusses. On the few occasions where a photograph doesn't suffice a simple sketch is shown. The landscape photographer student will be able to see exactly what is being discussed and how it affects the end result - a personal view of the world caught on film.

The book is broken down into logical sections: Introduction, The Changing Landscape, Equipment & Exposure, Designing a Photograph, The Natural Landscape, Creating Mood, The Urban Landscape, The Abstract landscape, Four Individual Views of Landscape. These comprehensively cover everything that the beginner needs to know.

I particularly liked the way Coe approached the topic of equipment. He puts it into its place and emphasised that there is no particular manufacturer to be pursued at the expense of all others. Nor did he labour the pros and cons of a particular model. Instead he stressed that the camera is only a tool, it's the photographer that takes the shot. Sensibly he discusses the other technical topics relevant to nature photography (such as exposure) in the same chapter.

Once the technicalities are out of the way Coe moves on to explore the heart of landscape photography. The remaining chapters discuss composition, location, lighting and timing in such a way that the reader sees that landscape subjects are everywhere - once you have learnt to look.

The book finishes with four amateur photographers personal view of a city and coastal subject. This brings home the point very well that one individual's view of the world is as valid as any other, and is an inspiration to get out with a camera.

I liked this book a lot. It would be an ideal read for an inexperienced photographer looking for some sound guidance in the art of landscape photography.

The Art Of Landscape Photography Sample Pages.