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SCL Photo Podcast 38: Journey Through The British Isles, By Harry Cory Wright, Book Review

SCL PodcastQuick chat about a bargain book that I picked up at a local charity shop...

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Show notes:

Related Links:

Man, I Miss My Photography!

Photowalk 68, Welcome Back!

My Notes:

journey_book_coverFeature: Journey Through The British Isles , Harry Cory Wright, Book Review

Official Website of The Book

The Authors Website.

BBC article about making the book.

"Journey", available at

"Journey", available at (USA)

Yesterday Suzanne and I went on a bit of a bargain hunt. We hit an indoor car-boot sale in Portsmouth at about 7 o'clock, then went for a nice cooked breakfast, then we looked round the shopping centres first in Fareham then in Southsea, Portsmouth.

While having a dig in one of the charity shops I found this amazing book - Journey Through The British Isles, by the photographer Harry Cory Wright, so I thought I'd talk about it today.

The first thing that hits you when you pick up this book is it's size. It must be a good two and a half feet across when opened up, and about a foot high, there's about 100 full colour, mostly full-page, photographs, that look stunning, both in terms of the colours themselves, but also because of the detail within these images.

The photographer, Harry Corry Wright, spent 6 months in 2006 travelling the length and breadth of England, Wales and Scotland with the aim of capturing the disappearing beauty of the British countryside. The thing is, he wasn't using an ordinary camera - no 35mm, digital or medium format here, Harry lugged around a large format film camera that uses 10 by 8 inch film plates - that's about A4 size, and the camera itself, made from brass and wood, is about the size of a portable TV turned on its side.

While leafing through this fantastic prints, the quality in the production of this book shines through. The paper is super glossy and the printer has done a fantastic job with recreating Harry's work.

Whether these photographs will appeal to you depends on if you like landscapes, and in particular British landscapes. We're not talking about high contrast black and white granite monoliths or cavernous valleys, a la Ansel Adams, what we're seeing are lush green rolling hills, misty downs and foreboding moors.

Not many of the photo's in this book stick in your mind straight away - but on the second or third viewing you start to see more and more in the different scenes and vistas, maybe the subtle play of light on some heather, or some distant sheep on a hill - all thanks to the brilliant detail of the large format camera.

My favourites have to be the lakeside or coastal shots - maybe its because I live right next to the sea myself. Hagdale and the Keen of Hamar, with a small farmers cottage tucked into the corner, or perhaps the ever-photographed beachy head with the white cliffs a stark contrast to the deep blue of the sky and sea.

A phenomenal work of great care for the subject he's shooting - Harry Cory Wright's visions of the British Countryside are masterpieces of subtle realism, it's a must read for any landscape photographer. Order it from your local library, amazon (links in the show notes), or for £4.50 from a charity shop near you.

Any book review wouldn't be complete without a little discussion of what we can learn as photographers from the images and text in the book - and Harry rather handily has added some technical notes at the back of the volume to help us out. We may not be shooting large format, but we can emulate some of his ideas to shoot better landscape photographs ourselves.

The first point would be that to shoot a great landscape you need to explore the area and find the most pleasing view, then wait for, or come back when there's great light, which will probably be early morning or late afternoon. The next thing to do is to use a tripod - it slows you down, improving your composition and gives you time to think about the photograph you want to create. The final point I take from the book is that to take a great landscape photograph it helps if you know the area well - to know how it changes through the seasons, and so that you can explore all of it's nook and crannies to find unusual and stunning view-points. The Landscape photographer takes his or her own sweet time.

March / April Photo Assignment - "Depth of Field".

Long Term Assignment - "Where I Live"

Technique challenges (No Time Limit):

No Sky Landscapes

Fill The Frame!

Dawn / Dusk shots

A Landscape Style Shot With Strong Foreground Interest

Remember to email me your photos if you'd like to me work on them for the Photo Workbench.

To contact me, just click on the link near the top of the page under the big picture.

Thanks for listening, see you on Flickr!

Join the Flickr Group!

Cheers, Rob.

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