Author: Joe Cornish, Charlie Waite et al.

Publisher: Argentum (Aurum Press)

Review by Conrad J. Obregon

I’ve long felt that travel photography doesn’t exist as a separate genre and it’s nice to see that the editor and authors of Travel Photography Masterclass (Light & Land series) agree with me. Instead they feel that travel photography is really several separate genres and they include each as a chapter of their book; the chapters are Landscape, People, Architecture and Nature.

The authors are some of the best photographers in Great Britain, like David Ward, Joe Cornish, Charlie Waite and Niall Benvie. Each chapter starts with a brief introduction by the editor, Alisa McWhinnie, followed by a short essay with photographs by one of the authors. The chapters then include a series of pictures by photographers who are unknown to me, and who, I suspect, may be students or workshop participants of the authors. These latter photographers describe their inspiration, the situation when the image was captured, camera data, post-capture work and later reflections. There is a short column of top tips, and then another essay with images, by another author. The images are quite nice but there is little synergistic effect or organization of teaching points from these pictures.

The essays are quite pedestrian. For example, Ward, who has waxed eloquent elsewhere, essentially says that he travels to find something new and that the photographer should be critical of his own work; should keep an open mind; and should match the images to the light. There is nothing of a technical nature, little to help the reader find his vision and even less to inspire. In fact, this book seems less like a class, master or otherwise, and more like a collection of random pictures. The images are excellent but relatively unconnected. Where several images appear in a photo book, I expect them to reinforce each other, and for something beyond the individual image to accrete. That didn’t happen here. Even the top tips are not very significant, like shoot slow for landscape and architecture and shoot fast for portraits and wildlife.

If you hunger for images to look at, this book may be worth purchasing. On the other hand, most of these authors have published other books that deal with the specific areas they write about here that are far better than this, either to appreciate for the images or from which to learn.

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This post sponsored by X-Rite Color and the ColorChecker Passport