Inside this issue
End frame: Rùm Sunrise, Inner Hebrides by Joe Cornish
Graham Nobles chooses one of his favourite images
Landscape was ever my passion and after a decade of teaching digital photography, I moved to Cumbria and can now slow down and take my time with it. To that end, I switched from DSLR to digital medium format with the Fujifilm GFX system, which I am enjoying getting to grips with!
I felt I had bitten off more than I could chew, thrashing around the mountains of Snowdonia gathering images for my very first book, experiencing emotional highs and devastating lows, yet elated, and it was during that time I first heard the name, Joe Cornish. Mine was a collaboration with the National Trust for Wales, and, if my memory serves me, Joe had been commissioned to photograph National Trust properties for a special project of theirs. That was way back in the early 90’s and I was as green as they come.
So I did some research and tracked down his work, all pre-Google, of course, and I realised then how much I needed to up my game. Years later, and his many books that adorn my bookshelves are a go to whenever I need some inspiration and motivation. So, with all Joe Cornish’s images to hand, trying to narrow it down to just the one for this article was a huge task in itself.
None would argue that Joe is up there among the best landscape photographers in the UK, and perhaps the only one to have a rock named after him! I think we have all probably just ‘dropped by’ one of his more famous locations to see what we could make of it, but of course, the result is never quite the same. Joe has his own style of combining the elements: season, time, light and subject; and his own way then of aligning them to produce an image of outstanding quality. I imagine, however, that pressing the shutter is just the final act following months of location slogging, ephemeris plotting, weather watching, and an ankle-turning pre-dawn yomp! It’s an enviable skill, but one honed by years of dedication and fieldwork out there in the wilds.
He's a landscape all-rounder, as capable of producing an intimate abstract as he is of gathering in the huge scenics. Mostly, he favours a dramatic foreground, well-lit with glancing side light, say, together with some epic backdrop, the whole working together on a level to which the rest of us can only aspire. Sometimes he will reverse the combination; a cool, shaded foreground, perhaps even frosted, with a bright, warm, sunlit backdrop. Some images are full and bursting with colour, while others are sparse and minimalist with a more subdued colour palette. And these, I should declare, are my favourites.