on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

The Landscape – Paul Wakefield

After our interview with Paul we are delighted to review his stunning new book

Tim Parkin

Tim Parkin

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

Flickr, Facebook, Twitter



Publisher's Description

This is the latest book by British photographer Paul Wakefield. A long awaited monograph that includes photographs of both epic proportions and intimate detail. Natural landscape is presented through the five different sections : Shorelines, Rockscapes, Drylands, Woodlands, and Snowscapes.   Paul’s work combines a classic landscape tradition with a contemporary sensibility and reflects his life long passion for the natural world. Paul Wakefield was born and grew up in Hong Kong and has worked continuously on his own landscape projects while using his vision of landscape on advertising commissions. He has published four books previously, three of which were with Jan Morris, reknowned author of travel literature.

Publisher: Envisage books

Size: 290 x 365 mm

128 pages, 80 full-colour images

Available in limited edition or as a standard book from 'Beyond Words' and other fine book stores.

http://www.beyondwords.co.uk/p/1760/the-landscape

 

Book2

I am sitting here at a table in a house in the North West of Scotland. For company, I’ve been sharing a glass of wine with Paul Wakefield and I’ve been working out how to review a book I’ve been waiting to see before I even knew of its existence. You see, Paul Wakefield was one of the first photographers that made me think about what landscape photography meant. Alongside Joe Cornish, Charlie Waite and David Ward whose work was well known either through their books, writing or workshops, Paul was an unknown. He had a tantalising range of images available in the National Trusts “Coast” and “Countryside” books and had a range of books “Scotland”, “Ireland”, “Wales” and “Britain” which were appallingly printed but whose images just couldn’t be ignored. Beyond this Paul was just a mythical commercial photographer from whom the occasional trickle of images would appear via his occasionally updated, minimal website.

But the images themselves were something different. At first, they can appear brusque or unbalanced but they exert a magnetic pull that brings you toward and engages you with the subject matter. Take for instance the lichen, twigs, rock and pine cones taken in the Grampian forests. At first, it seems to lack form but the composition isn’t shouting at you to look, it’s inviting you to see for yourself. The pictures suggest that the viewer plays an important part in the visual transaction and once the view becomes engaged the picture really gives it’s all. There are small compositions within compositions; line shadows line, shape echos shape, colour balances tone. Everything in these pictures has been considered but it’s very rare that this consideration is given top billing.

This isn’t to say there aren’t pictures to take your breath away from the first. The cover image tipped into the grey cloth of the hardcover is beautifully seen. An explosion of scale like rocks and brachial lines of the Skye coast point towards a cloud capped Rhum in late angled light. The sea stack at Dun Briste in County Mayo floats away from an apparent docking point in the cliff edge in an impossible juxtaposition; The white limestone of the Sahara Al Beyda in the Egyptian desert is at once alien and inhospitable but is lit by the most divine soft lighting.

To be sitting opposite the creator of these images and to pass judgement on the results of his collaboration with Eddie Ephraums is a little humbling. To spend some time over the last few days listening to the stories and experiences of a photographer who has dedicated his love of photography to the landscape is fascinating and it’s difficult not to connect the personality of the man to the personality of the photos. Paul is a very private person and does not suffer fools (I’m hoping that the pouring of a glass of wine means I’ve passed at least one test) but this comes from a person who has been in control of his own destiny from an early age. He’s never been an assistant, never worked for a studio, always been at the sharp edge of a machine that creates imagery for the professional work (read the interview just before Christmas for some back story) and so is it no surprise that his personal work strikes such a strong and personal line. If there are any influences playing a part in Paul’s work they are derived from fine art - Caspar David Friedrich, Frederick Sommer, Francis Towne, etc.

But what of the book? Well, high standards are the order of the day. This is an oversize, cloth bound, hardback book printed on beautiful thick satin/matt Tatami fine art paper with just a hint of tooth (texture). The prints themselves are extremely well done with very little to complain about.

The book itself starts with two essays - one by Robert Macfarlane (who writes about landscape with the same eloquence that Paul photographs it with) and by Andrew Wilton (specialist in the Sublime and curator of the Tate Gallery and the British Museum) but leaves the bulk of the book to the 80 full colour plates.

At the back of the book is a short essay by portrait painter Anthony Connolly and a short description of the location and year of each image of creation.

A special edition of the book includes a small print of one of a range of three images and also comes in a slipcase wrapped as per the hard case.

If you want to know more about the book, visit the dedicated website

http://www.paulwakefield-thelandscape.co.uk/

and take a look at Paul’s images at his own website

http://www.paulwakefield.co.uk/

I’ve now spent four days with Paul and I’ve got to know him a little better and his pictures as well. Each has great depth, strong character and an incisive connection with the landscape.

His work is the first and still some of the best colour landscape photography that Britain has produced and as such deserves a place on every photographer's bookshelf.



On Landscape is part of Landscape Media Limited , a company registered in England and Wales . Registered Number: 07120795. Registered Office: 1, Clarke Hall Farm, Aberford Road, WF1 4AL