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Wales at the Water’s Edge – Jeremy Moore & Jon Gower

Book review

Tim Parkin

Tim Parkin

Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.

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The Wales coastal path officially opened on the 5th of May, 870 miles of uninterrupted coastal footpath through some of the best countryside that Britain has to offer. To mark the opening of the path, photographer Jeremy Moore and writer and conservationist Jon Gower put together this book, celebrating it's beauty, history and people.

Don't expect a book full of heroic landscape pictures though, the images have been taken and selected so they don't fight with one another. Jeremy has approached the book as primarily a documentary project so the majority of pictures are taken during the day in a manner that people will experience themselves (only four or five dawn/dusk photographs in the book).

That isn't to say that there aren't any classic landscape images in the book, Jeremy is an accomplished photographer as can be seen from his website Wild Wales. For instance, this photograph of two people walking over the sand laced with a filigree of small streams each reflecting the bright sunlight particularly engages me.

The book is separated into ten different sections, each representing a stretch of the coast line starting with "Severn to Neath" and ending with "Conwy to Dee". Each chapter narrative walks you along a stretch of the path, discussing the discoveries and historic events as they pass. Jon Gower should be applauded for his excellent written style too - the stories flow along at a pleasing pace and weave their way through the constant progress along the coast with admirable style. He expresses the same love of the people as he does the landscape, including a memorable exchange about thieving badgers with an injured Welsh cavalry squaddie who was making a journey along the whole path on a mobility scooter for various charities.

The end of each chapter includes a set of pictures of Jeremy's, one to a page, which gives the photographs the space to be browsed away from the text, each group a little journey of themselves.

 

Jeremy's 'afterword' at the end of the book suggests a new term for the type of photography he engages in; "Psychogeography". The term describe the connection of landscape (typically urban or suburban) with the people that inhabit it and more importantly, it describes how this landscape can engage people almost subconsciously. A more recent description, and one used in the book, is 'urban wanderer as author' and seems as well suited to photography as literature (and probably even better suited to the two together).

Jeremy also says that he is tired of the term 'landscape photographer' when it's use implies a dawn/dusk, ND filtered, ultra wide and manipulated output.

 

The book is a great and literate overview of beautiful section of Britain's coastline and would be great to read whilst experiencing some of this landscape for yourself.

The book is available from Amazon for £13.99 or directly from the publisher as a Welsh language version for £19.99. You can see more of Jeremy Moore's work at his website Wild Wales.



  • joseph

    GREAT book review – love the page turner alternative above. Joe

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