Inside this issue
Scotland’s Fifty Finest Mountains
Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.
John Parminter has been in On Landscape before as featured photographer and was the first in our PDF issues. We are big fans of his original take on mountain photography and were pleased to hear about his foray into publishing.
The book, "Scotland's Fifty Finest Mountains, A Photographic Exploration" is a great fit for John's ethos and approach. Choosing the top fifty was always going to be a challenge though and it sounds like this wasn't settled until just prior to print.
We heard about John's book as it was just off the press when Dav Thomas was producing his "With Trees" book in Malta and Dav reported that it looked very fine indeed so it was with great pleasure that I received a copy of it within days of it arriving in the UK.
This hardback book is modestly sized but landscape orientation instead of portrait, allowing some great panoramic full spread bleeds in a fashion that has become familiar to most fans of panoramic photography.
In photograph friendly fashion John keeps the narrative introduction to a minimum, just enough for a few paragraphs from John Beatty, a bit of background from Mr Parminter and we're into the meat of the book.
The body of the book is divided into six sections with the mainland split into compass quadrants plus a central section and finally an islands section.
Each mountain within usually receives anywhere from a couple of paragraphs of the introduction to a full page, depending on the history of the peak, both geological and social, and on the interesting stories accumulated during the capture of the featured photographs.
And it's the photographs we are most interested in. Although John's photography occasionally fits with the received compositional style for the Scottish Highlands (there are only so many ways to get the whole of a mountain into a photograph) in the most part he creates a look of his own.
His more intimate images, and we're talking intimate in mountain terms here, bring new perspectives to the genre with classic images such as his view of the Glencoe hills from Buachaille Etive Beag in wonderful snowy conditions or the buttress of Aonach Eagach from the Three Sisters.
It also helps that John is happy to be up the mountain in the less beautiful conditions, just ready for that spark of light or whirl of spindrift. And it's these atmospheric conditions that draw me in more than the usual golden light illuminating the side of a mountain against a blue grey sky. Suilven over Loch Sionasgaig from Stac Pollaidh is a case in point - a common view rendered sumptuous with horizontal beams of evening light picking shapes in the foreground.
I also imagine it helps that John is somewhat of a fell runner and the ability to set off before dawn and be at the top as the sunrise instead of halfway up coughing his lungs up (which would be me) must have been responsible for a few successes herein.
If you want to find out more about John's work, take a look at our previous interview with him here.
The hardback binding is nice and the book is reasonably well printed throughout and you can only really see the screen on a few images under good lighting - a far cry from the self published book quality from Blurb et al.
I would love to see more work from John published and wish him every success and if you like what you see you can buy the book from his website for £25 plus postage.
I personally would love to see some sequels dedicated to individual mountains or ranges thereof - perhaps an Argyll special? :-)