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Outdoor Photography - 2003 Book of the Month List

Every month, Outdoor Photography Magazine, a British publication, writes reviews of several recently published books and they select a Book of the Month. I started to gather these reviews in September of 2003 and have taken the liberty to publish a list of these book reviews as recommendations for outstanding photography books.

Book of the Month: 2003
December Landscape: The World's Top Photographers and the Stories Behind Their Greatest Images by Terry Hope
To produce a book entitled 'The world's top photographers: Landscape' is a lofty claim, but one that has been fully realised in this publication, the second in its series. (The first concentrated on Wildlife). Of the 38 photographers represented, many will be names familiar to most readers. Nearly all the British photographers whose work appears in this book  (Joe Cornish, David Ward, Charlie Waite, Niall Benvie et al) are regular contributors to
Outdoor Photography. The book also served as an introduction to some other photographers whose work had, for whatever reason, passed me by until now. The photographs featured certainly make you wonder if it's possible to turn in any direction in Utah or Arizona without tripping over a photographer, but each has his or her own interpretation of these locations, and it's always helpful and inspiring to compare. The publishers have even included two pictures of the same location, but by different photographers (Jack Dykinga and Michael Fatili), and this is in no way a bad thing. This book provides a great balance between being a genuinely interesting and informative read, and in terms of the picture selection visually superb. My only quibble is this. It is a coffee table book, pure and simple. However, its layout and, moreover, it size (26x25cm approximately) is more akin to a conventional technique/how-to book. I felt slightly short-changed by so many of the pictures being used three or four to a spread, without much room to breathe. For me, it should be twice the size, and few quid more expense, with no apologies. Reviewed by Ailsa McWhinnie.
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November Ray Mear's World of Survival by Ray Mears and Jane Hunter
Building an igloo, creating poison arrows and making shoes out of reindeer shins not the skill every office worker needs to perfect, but you never know when they might come in handy. Survival instructor Ray Mears has traveled to some of the most unforgiving places in the world but, thankfully, most of us will never need to know which grubs, worms and reindeer entrails to eat in order to stay alive, and that's kind of comforting after reading this book. Mears won a cult following after the screening of his three BBC television series: Ray Mear's World of Survival, Tracks and Ray Mear's Extreme Survival. Over the years, he has visited some of the planet's most inhospitable terrain, from the searing heat of the desert to the intense cold of the Arctic and the survival secrets of the people he has met along the way now appear in this glossy hardback. While the book is quite obviously designed to accompany the TV series of the same name, it does offer the extra bonus of some great pictures take a look at the shot of the seal hunt on page 14. It sounds a strange complaint, but the typeface is a little off-putting in places; it varies in size a little too often and makes the layout seem cluttered, plus the headings don't always appear at the start of each section, which feels a bit odd. Just how much Mears had to do with the actual writing of the book is unclear, but I take my hat off to anyone who knows how to lure an octopus out from a Pacific reef if that doesn't get you noticed on a job application, nothing will. The guide claims to offer practical advice relevant to today's travelers, but it's more of an armchair book than a hands-on survival manual enjoyable stuff nonetheless. Reviewed by Tracy Hallett.
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September Remarkable Trees of the World by Thomas Pakenham
Historian Thomas Pakenham has spent the best part of a decade investigating some of the world's most remarkable trees. His first book on the subject, Meetings with Remarkable Trees, focused on Britain and Ireland, and was later made into a television series of the same name. This later version sees Thomas traveling the globe in search of more intriguing specimens. 'Many of these trees were already famous,' explains the blurb, 'champions by girth, height, volume or age while others had never previously been caught on camera.' Thomas's five-year exploration took him to most of the temperate and many of the tropical regions of the world a mean feat when you learn that he was carrying a 30 pound Linhof camera and a tripod with him at the same time. The trees are grouped by character rather than science: chapters include Giants, Dwarfs, Dreams and Trees in Peril, and the text concentrates on folklore, legend, history and myth, rather than botany. The layout and overall design of the book is pleasing: the pictures are well executed and the copy is informative and friendly, with each tree afforded a single spread. Remarkable Trees is a good read, and Thomas has combined his skills as a writer and photographer to product an entertaining book for anyone who is interested in, or intrigued by, the natural world. Reviewed by Tracy Hallet.
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For other book lists on photography, check out these pages on our website:

Outdoor Photography Magazine (UK) Outdoor Photographer Magazine (US) Other Book Guides
- 2006 Books of the Month
- 2005 Books of the Month
- 2004 Books of the Month
- 2003 Books of the Month

- B&W Magazine 2006 Books of the Month
- B&W Magazine 2005 Books of the Month

- 2005 Holiday Book Guide
- 2004 Holiday Book Guide

- 2003 Holiday Book Guide
- 2001 Holiday Book Guide
- 2000 Holiday Book Guide
- Shutterbug 2005 Holiday Guide
- Shutterbug 2004 Holiday Guide

- Our book recommendations

- Our magazine recommendations

 

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