on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers


Interview with Neil Burnell

Neil Burnell

Neil Burnell is a multi-award winning photographer from Devon in the South-West of England. He originally studied Art and Photography at college in the early 90s and went into graphic design, but recently has discovered a love for landscape & seascape photography. This year Neil is looking to exhibit his ‘Mystical’ series of ancient Wistman’s Wood images while also planning other photography projects.


Charlotte Parkin

Charlotte Parkin

Head of Marketing & Sub Editor for On Landscape. Dabble in digital photography, open water swimmer, cooking buff & yogi.

Back in September 2020, I saw on Facebook that Neil had launched his book 'Mystical' and was taking pre-orders. I remembered some of the images of the woods from working on Neil's Featured Photographer interview. back in August 2019.  I contacted Neil once the book had arrived and was delighted that he agreed to talk to us about his project at Wistman’s Wood, one of three high altitude oak woods on Dartmoor.

When we interviewed you for our Featured Photographer interview back in August 2019 there are some images that are from Wistman’s Wood. Were you already working on the book at that point in time or was it more in the concept stage?

At this stage, I had already created a series of images from Wistman’s Wood which had had a really good reception and been featured across the web globally. Having said that I was still only really happy with a few of the images and I was still fine-tuning the whole process of shooting Wistman’s. It wasn’t until January 2020 that I started to feel happy with a larger number of images from this unique location. It was always in my mind to create a set of images that could be exhibited, but I honestly didn’t think I’d get to the stage where I felt comfortable releasing a project book.

I started work on the book in the first lockdown this year, I suppose we were all looking for things to do, so I set about laying out a book for Mystical. I was pretty much spending each day choosing and eliminating images and printing them out as I progressed. It took several months of going back and forth until I had a layout I was happy with, I then showed the layout to several photographers that I admire and they suggested a few alterations.

The book was coming together nicely now but there was a long way to go. Having worked in the design & print industry for 20 years I had a good idea of papers I wanted to use and what I wanted the final product to look like.

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