Inside this issue
10 Years of On Landscape
Looking back on past articles
Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.
Just over ten years ago whilst sitting around the dinner table on holiday in Northumberland, I announced to my in-laws that I was going to give up my job and start a photography magazine. This came as a bit of a shock to them but also to my wife as I’d forgotten (ahem) to tell her as well! Fortunately, there weren’t any major repercussions (well - in hindsight anyway) and over the next few months Joe Cornish and I chatted about content, design etc and On Landscape was born. Actually, it wasn’t On Landscape at the time, we called it Great British Landscapes but quickly realised that it had an audience beyond Britain. Even from the first few months we had people from as far away as Australia, Brazil and Canada subscribing and now we’re about 50% from Britain and 50% from the rest of the world. From the start, we had an inkling that it should be successful but we didn't think we'd have the level of support we now have.
In celebration of our ten years of publishing our magazine, we thought we'd pick some of our favourite content for you to look back on, particularly if you weren't a subscriber from early days. But, to be honest, I enjoyed going through the older content and rereading some of our articles because, even if the content hasn't changed, I certainly have and am getting different things from them when rereading.
In the beginning
From the start, the first few issues were a bit of a mix of video interviews, reviews and editorial but there was still some great content. In the first couple of months, we had a series on Aspect Ratios from Joe Cornish and one of our most popular articles called “Shooting into the Sun” (a result of search engine optimisation, rather than my writing I imagine).
In Conversation with Joe Cornish
There were also some really informative and inspiring videos from Joe Cornish about some of his old & new images and also about post-processing. We're currently transferring these to YouTube so apologies if you can't access them all at the moment. Here's a sample of the "Hindsight" series you can view now though.
People really seemed to enjoy our Lightroom series. It might be a little out of date now.
Pioneers in Landscape Photography
We also wanted to inspire people with information about some of the pioneers in landscape photography, for instance in an early issue me and Joe looked at the work of Galen Rowell and also reviewed a couple of his books.
We've run a few Master Photogarphers since then, one of my favourites was Josef Sudek who should be more well known to our landscape photographer community.
Reoccurring Themes in Articles
Some topics keep recurring throughout the history of On Landscape and early on we had a couple of reactions to social media's propagation of the 'Wow!' image. Julian Barkway and Dav Thomas took complementary positions (partly for the sake of argument I imagine!)
Pushing the Boundaries
From the start, we wanted to make sure we represented more than just the wow and one of the more inspiring articles from a photographer pushing the boundaries was an interview with Michael Jackson on his Poppitt Sands work - Thanks Rob Hudson!
Science of Photography
We were often told that one of the best ways to get lots of page views was to include equipment reviews. So we made a bit effort to ensure we were predominantly equipment review free and concentrated instead on the art and science of photography. However, occasionally we did think that some review content was useful but only when there wasn't much coverage elsewhere on the internet. For instance, some of our first reviews including a survey of colour film, which we spread over three different articles. This was a massive undertaking and I hope some people found it useful. Sadly it's also an indication of how film has changed in this short period with only half of he films still in production (3 of the slide films and 3 of the colour negatives films, Velvia 50 and 100 plus Kodak E100G and then Kodak Portra 160 & 400 and Ektar).
The other testing we did was in response to a 'test' on the old Luminous Landscape website. It compared the Phase One IQ180 with 8x10 film, saying the reign of 8x10 was over. Well, we couldn't let that lie and so we applied ourselves to a 'proper' test with the conclusion "oh no it isn't!". The article was just simply a resolution test though, it also looked at differences between resolution and sharpness and did print comparisons (quite revealing) and it prompted Dav Thomas' "Why Size Doesn't Matter" article. We promised not to repeat this for a long time and we mostly stuck to this. However, when the IQ150 came out (150 MAGA Pixies!) we had to give it another go and had to conclude that it's finally pretty close (although the edge still goes to a well-taken 8x10!)
Coming from a scientific background (many years of pointless engineering research toward a PhD) I was very interested in some of the more 'esoteric' (read boring and pointless) studies of aspects of photography. I was particularly interested in how colour is perceived and recorded and a couple of early articles looked at some of the inconsistencies both our vision and our cameras. One of the more interesting aspects (to me) was the differences in how we remember colour. So much so I realised I've actually written two articles with the same title over the last ten years! They cover different ground though so I hope they're interesting enough to at least a few other people.
I've also been interest in the subjects that we photograph and have investigated the science behind autumn and some interesting facts about some of our favourite trees.
And a final pick from me - I loved playing with pinholes and writing this article about how they work was such a good excuse to combine my love of science and photography.
Being a good photographer, having interesting thoughts about photography and having the skills and inclination to write them down in a way that informs and entertains is a rare combination. Fortunately, there are a few photographers out there who can do a great job of all three. My personal favourite writer and someone we're lucky to have produced quite a few articles for us in the past ten years, is David Ward and we would be remiss if we didn't include a couple of my favourite articles from him.
(Un?)Fortunately, there is only one David Ward but on the other side of the Atlantic, there is another excellent photographer who has written many articles for us, covering issues from psychology to history, geography to neuroaesthetics. Guy Tal consistently explores some of the fundamentals behind what we do as photographers and to read many of his articles is to explore our own psyche and perhaps help us realise what it means to live the creative life.
As well as Guy and David, there are a load of people who write less often but have still provided lots of excellent articles for On Landscape such as Richard Childs, Alister Benn, Raphael Rojas, Colin Bell, Andrew Nadolski, Thomas Peck, David Tolcher, Doug Chinnery, Graham Cook, Harvey Lloyd-Thomas, Dav Thomas, Keith Beven, Lizzie Shepherd, Mark Littlejohn, Matt Lethbridge, Paul Gallagher, Paul Moon, Colleen Miniuk, Ted Leeming & Morag Peterson and Theo Bosboom. We're lucky to have such a good pool of writers to draw from.
Here's my pick of a few of these:
Andrew Nadolski interviews Jem Southam
Rule of Fifths by Richard Childs
Cross Country Skiing by Lizzie Shepherd
Seeing the Wood for the Trees by Dav Thomas
Abstraction by Graham Cook
Diamonds and Sand by Alister Benn
Chasing Pavements by Paul Moon
Autumn Leaves by Theo Bosboom
If Noone Saw Your Photographs by Colleen Miniuk
One of my favourite interview over the past ten years was with Thomas Joshua Cooper. A proper misfit rebel screaming at the world through his camera. If you ever get the chance to meet him, say hello, buy him a bottle of red wine and look forward to a few hours of free form entertainment.
We're always on the lookout for photographers who work in projects and a couple of our favourite both visually and conceptually are included here.
Favourite Regular Columns
Our favourite regular columns are always worth looking back on. Here's a couple of our favourites from 4x4's (from an International Landscape Photographer of the Year!), Endframes and Featured Photographers
One of the saddest events of the year was to witness one of our contributors and friends pass away during a Zoom interview. Richard White was a truly passionate photographer and a friend to the magazine. In his memory here is his first interview for us and his last.
I hope you'll excuse me indulging myself in a wade through our back issues. It's been great to spend a little time reviewing some of our old content and it's inspired me to find more for the next ten year anniversary. What the world will look like by then is anybody's guess but I wish you all the best in recording it!