Photographic Inspiration: Suggested Books for the Landscape Photographer
First, thanks to David Johnston for the invitation to do some guest writing and second, thanks to the readers and listeners of The Photography Roundtable for taking time to participate in this platform. I’m planning to share a few things along the way that made an impact on my on photographic journey and hope that you’ll find some tools to put in your own toolbox.
One of the big inspirations for me in the world of landscape photography is the work of other photographers! And I find that the printed book, in particular, really helps me to slow down and think about the creative side of making images. Print books are expensive to produce and distribute but they are still my favorite way to explore new or classic work of some of the best landscape photographers on the planet. It’s a great way to study composition, how light is used and how images can be grouped together. There is much to learn about your own work by looking carefully and reflecting on the work of others.
Here’s a list of some of my favorite portfolio books focusing on landscape images. If you want to know my photographic influences then look no further than this list. I’ll share other book lists down the road too but I have to start with the actual photographs first!
Galen Rowell, A Retrospective: Fantastic collection of photographs that influenced an entire generation. One the key figures who put adventure photography on the map. Check out over 174 of his images with additional commentary by Tom Brokaw and David Muench.
David Muench, Our National Parks: It’s also impossible to overestimate the influence of David Muench on today’s landscape photography. Simply stunning work and a portfolio of work that is enormous. Over 40 different US national parks and preserves are covered in this book.
David Muench, Arizona. The Southwest United States has been a magnet for landscape photographers for many years. There is a lifetime to photograph there. You may not need any more inspiration to photograph the Arizona landscapes but if you do, the collection of images in this book will get you ready to go.
Art Wolfe, Earth is My Witness. There are so many photographs in this large book that it’s overwhelming! But, that’s what you’d expect from Art Wolfe, who may be the most prolific photographer of his generation. Of course, his work includes portraits and also wildlife but if you can explore just one of his printed books, this would be the one.
Daniel Bergman, Iceland Landscapes. No one person can be responsible for an entire country’s tourism industry. But, much of the photographic world was introduced to the other worldly landscape of Iceland through the work of Daniel Bergmann. Daniel started out photographing birds but his focus now if mainly on his native landscape. Stunning images of an incredible and unique land.
Josef Hoflehner, Iceland. Super strong and powerful black and white portfolio that captures the drama of this epic landscape. A lesson in simple but extremely well composed images.
Josef Hoflehner, China Li River. Small but satisfying black and white images of the iconic Li River. Not as abstract as the Iceland work but captures the mood of the river extremely well.
Hans Strand, Iceland Above and Below. I’ve looked a lot of photographs over the last 10-12 years. Millions perhaps? There are few images that amaze me more than the aerial photography of the Icelandic landscape by Hans Strand. The glacial rivers along the South Coast when photographed from above are indescribable. Simply an extraordinary body of work.
Christopher Burkett, Intimations of Paradise. A special book of more contemplative images and work that causes you to slow down and reflect.
Eliot Porter, The West. A book printed in the mid 1980’s of work that spanned several decades. Maybe one best early photographers of the landscape with color film while many others were focusing on black and white. Simple, well composed images of intimate scenes.
Freeman Patterson, Portraits of Earth. Also a book printed in the 1980’s but I have to include Freeman because of his influence on me when I first started photographing. The creativity in his images really captured my imagination and inspired me to photograph.
Claes Grundsten, Sarek and Kebnekaise Where the Light is Ever Changing. Wonderful portfolio of images from the Swedish Arctic. Part of the inspiration for me to travel there and photograph. Big scenic views of this dramatic landscape draped in special light of the far North.
Dusty Doddridge is a landscape photographer based in Tennessee offering photographic tours, digital darkroom workshops, and fine prints.