My title’s slightly cheeky as I actually enjoy the flurry of retrospectives from photographers at this time of year; it gives me a chance to catch up on photographs I may have missed or simply to enjoy again old favourites. But, after having had to do a lot of self-promotion this Autumn, I expect folk are a bit bored of me (I am bored of myself!) so, like last year, I thought that I’d mention instead a few of the folk who’ve inspired me this year.
Simon Baxter (and Meg)
I don’t have time to watch a lot of You Tube vlogs but I make an exception for Simon’s. His photography is superb; I have nothing but respect for a photographer who can make compelling compositions out of tangled woodland and Simon makes it look easy. I also like the way he presents his shows; they are quiet, understated and uplifting. If that’s not enough to persuade you, Meg the dog is an absolute superstar. If you haven’t watched any of Simon’s vlogs, a good place to start would be this episode.
Colin Bell, ‘Healing’
As mentioned last time, I like to buy photobooks and this year has not helped me kick the habit! I have bought so many I have literally lost count. I can’t list them all here so I’m just going to mention one. Colin’s book is a tour de force. His photographs are simple, evocative, emotional. The poetry of Dom Conlon, written for the book, compliments the images beautifully. The presentation reflects the incredible care and attention Colin lavished on this project from beginning to end. It’s a book that rewards repeated visits and I am very glad to own a copy.
The Togcast is a series of fortnightly, free podcasts about landscape and travel photography, created by Sam Gregory and Paul Sanders. Sam and Paul are very nice chaps and they do a great job. Most episodes feature an interview with a well-known photographer but Sam and Paul have cleverly managed to direct and adapt each interview to give variety. There is never a sense of there being a standard list of questions and I think that must mean there’s a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes. I like to download episodes so that I can listen to them in the car.
As usual, I went to a lot of superb exhibitions this year, including Valda Bailey’s beautiful Fragile at The Bosham Gallery and the powerful Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, still on at the Natural History Museum. In September, I headed up to Greenwich for Mike Curry’s Fleeting Reflections. Mike’s work is very strong and his book shows it off beautifully but it was even better to see large prints of the series on the simple, white walls of the Greenwich Gallery. I was also mesmerised by the video Mike had on a loop – I could have watched it for hours. It was very good to meet Mike there and to hear some behind the scenes stories.
The ‘Ninja’ Togs
Landscape photography can be quite a solitary occupation. Mostly, I’m happy with that, but it is also nice to connect with others who share this enthusiasm. In September, I enjoyed a long weekend in Anglesey with a group of landscape photographers. We took a lot of photos, laughed a great deal (nobody mention the chilli!) and, I think it’s fair to say, we also inspired each other. I’m not sure I brought home any ‘keepers’ but it was one of the highlights of my year. Verity Milligan, Helen Isles, Claire Zaffin, Sarah Medway, Lorraine Heaysman, Jenifer Bunnett, you’re all awesome. Thank you so much! I’m looking forward to the next weekend.