on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Treasured Lands, Book Review

A Magnum Opus Photographic Book of the US National Park System

Tim Parkin

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

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QT Luong’s mammoth project to photograph all 59 US National Parks couldn’t come at a more opportune moment. The current government of the United States has proposed many reductions in the scale and protection of the National Parks and any material that can make people consider what a monumental folly this would be is to be gratefully accepted. And this should really make people consider what a gift the American people have in those national parks. The history of the United States of America is recorded by hardy pioneers wrestling with oversize wooden cameras to capture that elusive light on silver gelatin and it is quite apt that QT’s camera of choice while creating this book has been a 5” by 7” large format camera. (So dedicated to his tool of choice that he created and still runs the Large Format Photography information website, the authority on all things 20 square inches or more).

Unlike Carleton Watkins and Timothy O’Sullivan, QT had quicker and more comfortable methods of getting around and his final images are recorded in “Glorious Technicolor” (OK - Fuji Velvia mostly then).

It was always QT’s idea to produce a book at the very end of this 20-year long process but I don’t think many people expected something of quite this scale. The book is about the same weight as QTs large format camera but once you open it up you’ll realise just why it needed this scale. The photographs within the book are quite beautiful and QT manages to (mostly) avoid the most cliched views of each park so many of the images reveal something new to the viewer.



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