Land | Sea is the new release and the first in a new concept of publication from quality photography book publisher, Triplekite.
The new concept is based around an idea to provide a format which can be published around three times a year allowing portfolios from five photographers to be showcased. Triplekite have set themselves a difficult brief in this as they want to keep the selling price low, at £20, while maintaining their reputation for using very high quality print processes and materials coupled with design which focuses on the beauty of the images.
Have they succeeded? Most certainly. I was very keen to get my hands on a copy, indeed I held off doing the review until I had seen the physical book even though I get a sneak preview of the pdf prior to it going to print Lets take the physical quality of the book first. I was initially struck by the feel of the front cover. The soft cover material has a waxy coating which gives the book a luxury finish. Inside that care and attention to detail is reflected in the way two different paper weights have been used through the book. The pages on which the images are printed are of a substantial weight and thickness, but interleaved between them the pages which divide the photographers portfolios and the pages with the foreword etc are printed on a much lighter, almost translucent bible paper. It is attention to detail like this which elevates Triplekite publications and shows the people behind the books really care about what they are producing rather than being focused solely on profit.
The graphic design of the book also demonstrates the same attention to detail and love of the images. The typography and colour scheme is quiet and understated, done specifically to keep the attention on the photographs, I’m sure. To compliment this, space is given to the images and they are laid out in such a way as to ensure they are the main focus of the publication. The book is 320 x 240mm, softbound with 68 pages and I found the page size easier to cope with than the larger pages of the ‘Sea Fever’ book, also published by Triplekite and as such it fits on my bookshelves better.
There is an introduction by Tim Parkin of OnLandscape, who has collaborated on the project, where he discusses self expression in photography and a special treat for lovers of fine photography is an afterword written by Paul Kenny. It is a fascinating thoughtful piece which he describes as “Musings on the relationship between landscape, photography and art”.
The featured photographers in this first edition are Joe Wright, Valda Bailey, Al Brydon, Giles McGarry and Finn Hopson. This choice of artists is interesting. Many publishers would go down the route of selecting individuals who all produce identikit work, work in the same style so that it appealed to lovers of that one style. However, this group of photographers have very diverse approaches to their art. As a result you are likely to find something new which excites you, much like buying a compilation album and discovering an artist you were previously unaware of in amongst the familiar tracks.
I think this approach is perfect. It encourages us to consider a broader range of styles and to question our own approaches to photography, rather than just focusing our book buying on photographers whose work is perhaps similar to our own or who are ‘safe’ buys.
In the case of all the photographers in this issue, I was aware of all of them, but even so, I wasn’t prepared for just how exciting some of the work was. Take Joe Wright, as an example. I have seen many of Joes images before and loved them, indeed I have met and enjoyed Joes company up in the Lakes. But, despite this, I wasn’t ready for just how wonderful his images were in Land | Sea. From the opening, full page image of Crocosmia flowers in the rain through to his woodland images and his intimate rock abstracts I was enthralled. I think, seeing his images here, that Joe needs a book to himself!
Brilliantly contrasting with Joes quiet landscapes and intimate landscape details, his portfolio is followed by that of Valda Bailey. And what a contrast. Valdas images, using multiple exposure techniques are full of passion and colour, vibrance and drama. Her portfolio demonstrates how being experimental and letting go of the more ‘standard’ conventions of landscape photography can free you and open up a new world of photographic opportunities. Here is another photographer who I can see having her own dedicated book in the not too distant future.
And so it goes through the book, next is Al Brydons dark, moody landscapes, often of neglected places or those less noticed, revealing a hidden beauty. Giles McGarrys fine monochrome architectural images (and I can see special attention has gone into the printing of Giles monochrome images as the reproduction of the tones is excellent and I know it is tricky to do this without special processes being employed – another testament to Triplekite putting the image quality in front of profit, bravo!) contrast with these superbly, highlighting what can be achieved with long exposures and intense attention to detail in image processing and finally, the book concludes with Finn Hopsons careful, quiet and soothing landscapes of his beloved South Downs. Wonderful pastoral images made in gentle light.
To accompany each photographers portfolio is a short essay from them on their approach, background and thoughts on image making. Particularly appreciated is a page from each in which they detail their personal photographic influences and role models which is a great springboard for us, as lovers of photography, to go off exploring and discovering even more fine work. This makes it an even more valuable resource.
I foresee that this series is going to become very collectable and will build into a great library of photographers portfolios over time. Triplekite have announced the next group of photographers who are to be featured in volume two and I am already salivating over the thought of seeing the edition.
Is there anything I would change? Hunger for images means I would love to see a couple more pages per photographer to allow for some more photographs and some more in depth comments from them, but I also understand the financial implications of enlarging the publication. On the whole, I have to say, Land | Sea exceeded my expectations both in quality of production and content, so there is little else I can think of to improve it. I guess things like inserting Q codes to take us straight to the photographers web sites could be put in, that might be a useful touch for some. Maybe an audio interview could be added to the Triplekite website with each photographer to extend the article? But all these things take time and resources and I do think the price point of the publication is important.
So I would encourage you to go to the Triplekite website, HERE, and purchase your own copy. You can also buy a print from any of the photographers featured in the book for just £20 (buy all five and you get one free) so this is a superb opportunity to collect images from photographers you love at an amazing price. Still available on the website is David Bakers ‘Sea Fever’ and Dav Thomas’s book ‘With Trees’.
I hope you enjoy the book as much as I have.
Disclaimer: In the interests of journalistic integrity I want to make it clear I get a free copy of the publication under review from Triplekite. The above link is also an affiliate link so if you use it I get a small commission. However, I can also honestly state that Triplekite make no attempt whatsoever to influence what I say about their books. They do not see (or ask to see) what I write prior to publication and they do not ask me to alter what I write (except if I make an error regarding technical details. If I don’t like any aspect of the books, I will say so. I take my integrity very seriously.
If you do wish to buy the book and use a link which does NOT give me any commission then this link HERE will do that for you. As a consequence of being a professional teacher, writer, photographer and active member of the photographic community it is inevitable that I will know many of the photographers featured in the books I review. Some are now close friends, others are acquaintances and some I know fleetingly or just by reputation. I hope all of these understand that as a reviewer I have to try and stand back from any personal relationships and give my honest review of what I see and read. If I praise the work I genuinely feel it deserves praise. If I am less complimentary then I will always try never to be unkind but always to be honest, but it will never be personal and I trust that if what I say is less than glowing that we can remain friends? I have come to realise that reviewers walk a minefield, but walk it they must.