A recent day trip to Somerset gave me the opportunity to make this image of a quiet country lane, flanked by neatly trimmed hedgrows, the skeletal trees of winter and an overcast sky. I was instantly reminded of the landscape photographs by Sir Don McCullin CBE Hon.FRPS
Sir Don McCullin is a renowned British photojournalist arguably best known for his war photography and images of urban strife all of which are in black and white. A retropsective exhibition of his work has just opened at Tate Britain in London which I shall be visiting next month. It finishes on the 6th May.
He lives in Somerset in the West of England, and here Don McCullin has captured some dramatic, dark and moody images of the surrounding countryside; the place he calls home. The recent publication of a book simply called ‘The Landscape’ is a collection of his landscape pictures from both home and abroad. I have to say I am tempted to buy a copy, a temptation I suspect that will be hard to resist once I have visited his exhibition.
Another of his books which I may also consider buying is ‘This England’. I am sure both of these publications will be on sale at The Tate. When possible I do like to thumb through photography books before making a decision to purchase. They should be well produced and the photographs well printed. The book itself should offer longevity. Or in other words I want to be able to pick up the book time and time again and still enjoy what I am seeing.
I should just add that I am enthusiastic collector of photography books. Not the technical or instruction based publications (although I do have some of these) but the books of photographers whose work I admire and from whom I take inspiration. I can’t remember who said it, but I was told many years ago – ‘If you want to make better photographs, buy more books not more gear’. I agree.
I have been thinking recently that I might start to share my thoughts on this blog about some these books. Why do they occupy space on the shelf? Why do the photographers and their work particularly appeal to me? Do they stand the test of time or have my tastes changed? I hope you may find these future entries of interest.
In the meantime I think I will make a return journey to the county of Somerset, and in doing so take my inspirtaion from one of the finest photographers this country have ever produced.