on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Book Reviews

Claude Fiddler and Trym Ivar Bergsmo

Tim Parkin

Tim Parkin

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

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Claude Fiddler

The luxury of having more time to prepare an interview with a photographer is that I can spend a bit of time trying to find any publications they’ve produced in order to get more background information. In Claude Fiddler’s case, I found two of his previous publications and managed to get them delivered quite quickly. You can read a bit more about the work behind these books in Claude's interview elsewhere in this issue.

The High Sierra. Wilderness of Light


The first is “The High Sierra, Wilderness of Light”. Although Claude’s High Sierra book “Inside the High Sierra” is published soon, if you want to sample some of his large format images of the area, you can get a copy of this book second hand for quite a reasonable price. It tells the story of a few of the early pioneers who explored the ranges and scaled the heights and who also told stories about what they found. After this narrative, there are a series of images from Claude, each of which includes an extract from one of these explorers. There are some beautiful images included and the reproduction is generally good for its age. I’ve included some of my favourite images in the extracts below.

You can search for this book via its ISBN 9780811809702 / 0811809706

A Vast and Ancient Wilderness. Images of the Great Basin

A Vast And Ancient Wilderness

The second is a copy of “A Vast and Ancient Wilderness, Images of the Great Basin” which was produced in 1997 and is an overview of the vast area covering parts of Oregon, Utah and California and most of Nevada. It’s mostly seen as a ‘desert’ and the stories that are included in the first part of the book of the history of the hunters, trappers and early migrants certainly backs that up. Those migrants took a massive risk to find a new life on the West coast and later migrants gambled all on the chance to find gold in “them thar hills” (sorry - I couldn’t help myself). But, like most deserts, there are surprising places rich with life to be found. Claude’s photographs document the area well and although some of the reproduction looks a little dated, most of the photos show a strong aesthetic and obvious engagement with this difficult landscape.

You can search for this book via its ISBN 9780811815024 / 0811815021

Trym Ivar Bergsmo

My Land


Charlotte and I were lucky to spend a few weeks with Trym a few months before Covid broke out. Although we did visit the more ‘classic’ areas of Lofoten for a few days, most of our trip was spent being guided around Trym’s “local patch” at the base of the peninsula. The area is has a few ‘famous’ spots (Trollfjord for instance) but most of it is just off the beaten track Norway. And if anybody is well placed to produce a book like this, Trym is the person. I may be biased but from an outsider’s perspective, Trym has all the appearance of Norway’s national landscape photographer, a Scandinavian Joe Cornish with a nice line in Fjords perhaps. Unlike many professional landscape photographers, most of Trym’s well-known work has been produced in his own country and the vast majority of that in the North.

For an ‘off the beaten track’ backwater, it’s still the most consistently beautiful area I’ve ever visited. The book that Trym has produced is a personal take of the views on his doorstep. Yes, there are classically sublime views of Stetind, Norway’s national mountain, but that’s because you can see it from his kitchen window, I’d say that’s fairly local (although it’s a long way across Vestfjorden, admittedly). There are also intimate details of seaweed strewn beaches, simple landscapes of sand and snow.
The extra large format book is beautifully printed and builds a feeling of Trym’s home as you browse through it. By the end, I felt a strong pull to return to see Trym again. I can heartily recommend this book to anybody with an interest in the Scandinavian North. If you do buy a copy, don’t forget to tell Trym what you think of the book, with the amount of love he has put into this book, I’m sure he’ll appreciate some in return.

As Hans Strand says in his foreward, “Browsing through this book, over a glass of win or a cup of coffee, is something I feel every intelligent human being should indulge in”. Indeed!

You can by Trym's book direct from his website.

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