Looking for some inspiration for your bookshelf? Amy Davies recommends some of the best landscape photography books to browse through.
Landscape photography is obviously a hugely popular genre. With millions of images published every day on Instagram alone, it can be hard to whittle down the truly inspirational from the also-rans. That’s why nothing can truly beat the print medium for showing off the best the landscape has to offer. With these beautiful books, every page has usually been crafted to perfection, representing the best of any photographer’s portfolio.
Sitting down with one of these books and really studying the craft presented in front of you is worth its weight in gold, and certainly a more rewarding way to spend your time than endlessly scrolling through social media feeds. You can also refer back to them time and time again, usually spotting something new each time you re-read them.
That said, with so many books published every year, it can be difficult to know where to begin. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up a fantastic selection here for you to get started with. Most of them have been relatively recently published and are still widely available to buy. We’ve also included some classics (see page 45 )which might be a little more difficult to find, but are well worth seeking out because they stand the test of time.
Of course, no list like this could ever be a truly definitive one, so if you’ve got any suggestions for other landscape photography books that readers might like, please do get in contact via the usual methods.
Featured image: St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall, England – from The Art of Landscape Photography
Best landscape photography books
Landscape by Jeremy Walker
2020, RRP £45, Self-published, hardback, 232 pages
Regular readers will already be aware of the stunning work of landscape pro Jeremy Walker. His debut book, published in 2020, takes a look at some of the UK’s lesser-known hidden gems found hidden away from the more obvious landscape destinations.
It also explores some of Britain’s sometimes rocky history, through the ruins of once-impressive castles and abbeys. Presented here are dramatic landscapes, atmospheric weather conditions and if nothing else, a checklist of potential getaway locations for your next photography trip. It’s also got a foreword by AP editor Nigel Atherton.
Chasing Light by Stefan Forster
2022, RRP £40, Teneues, hardback, 240 pages, ISBN: 9783961713837
In terms of the sheer diversity of locations, you can do worse than to pick up one of Stefan Forster’s books. Every year, the Swiss photographer spends six months travelling the world, and leading a number of workshops to the planet’s most beautiful and remote places. Much of the time he spends in Iceland, his adopted second home.
In Chasing Light, his latest volume, we can see some of Stefan’s most beautiful experiences to date, shown from a variety of impressive perspectives. This tome is a potential classic in the making and a masterclass in how straightforward landscape imagery should be done.
The Art of Landscape Photography by Mark Bauer and Ross Hoddinott
2022, RRP $26.95/£16.99, Ammonite Press, softback, 192 pages, ISBN 9781781454480
If you’re keen to learn more about great landscape photography, then you’ve got not one, but two industry pros on hand here to go beyond the basics and look at the heart and soul of landscape photography – composition and aesthetic design to convey meaning and emotion. With numerous examples, as well as in-depth technical detail, this is one to really pore over to improve your skills.
Stone Age: Ancient Castles of Europe by Frédéric Chaubin
2021, RRP £50, Taschen, hardback, 412 pages, ISBN: 9783836585019
Castles are a classic mainstay of landscape photography. If they’re your thing too, then this book – which spans Europe and includes more than 200 buildings in 21 countries – is likely to be manna. What’s more, the images (like the one below) were shot on film with a Linhof view camera, so they’re not quite the same as your average picture-postcard travelogue. Again, you could quite easily use this as a checklist to help you plan your next landscape expedition.
Don McCullin: The Landscape
2018, RRP $62.86/£50, Jonathan Cape, hardback, 184 pages, ISBN: 9781787330429
While best known as a documentary photographer of some of the most harrowing conflicts of the post-war 20th century, Don McCullin is also an accomplished landscape shooter and darkroom master. In this inspiring collection he captures the dark, brooding mystery of the west country in winter, notably the Somerset Levels.
Despite being a tough Londoner by birth, McCullin’s Somerset roots run deep – he first came to the county as an evacuee in the war and has lived near Bruton for many years. There are also scenes from farther-flung locations, such as Syria and India. Wherever he shoots, McCullin’s composition is dramatic and arresting, and the darkroom toning utterly breathtaking.
Ansel Adams 400 Photographs
2007, RRP $29.99/£30, Little, Brown & Company, hardback, 432 pages, ISBN: 9780316117722
It’s quite possible that no collection of landscape photography books would be complete without a mention of the original master, Ansel Adams. This book from 2007 is a comprehensive overview of the legendary photographer’s stunning work, published in a beautiful volume. With an RRP of £30 (and generally available at a cheaper price) it’s an absolute bargain, and likely, if you buy just one book from our list – this should probably be it.
Sirens by Rachael Talibart
2018, prices vary, Triplekite Publishing, hardback, 64 pages, ISBN: 9780993258992
One of the best contemporary landscape photographers working today, you would be hard-pushed to find a brand new copy of any of Rachael Talibart’s books – which is a testament to how popular they are. You should be able to find second-hand copies of Sirens, however, which showcases her critically acclaimed seascape and wave work – the monstrous waves being named after mythological beings. Beautiful and considered work, this would be a fantastic addition to any budding landscape photographer’s shelf.
Landscape Photographer of the Year: Collection 14
2021, RRP $40/£30, Ilex Press, hardback, 224 pages, ISBN: 9781781578155
The best place to see a great collection of the world’s best landscape photography is to look at what the judges of Landscape Photographer of the Year think is worth awarding prizes to. The regular competition was launched by landscape legend Charlie Waite and always yields fantastic entries.
Each image in the book comes complete with captions describing the photographer’s inspirations, as well as technical information on equipment and technique. If you like what you see here, you could also go back over the years to find older editions.
Classic photography books
Our recommended selection of definitive landscape books
Earth from Above by Yann Arthus-Bertrand
2017 (originally published in 1999), £58, Abrams, 440 pages, ISBN: 9781419722844
First published over 20 years ago, this gorgeous book has sold more than three million copies worldwide. Aerial images from multiple journeys across five continents and 60 countries provide a comprehensive survey of the Earth from a spectacular vantage point – and from a time before drones made it more commonplace. In the newer edition, over 100 new pictures are included, as well as essays from leading experts and environmentalists.
Land by Fay Godwin
1985, Prices vary, William Heinemann Ltd, 160 pages, ISBN: 9780434303052
Arguably one of the most essential purchases for anybody interested in British landscape photography, this beautiful collection of black & white imagery covers a good breadth of the country. The pictures are subtle and lovingly printed, and anybody who finds one second-hand is unlikely to be disappointed.
Light and the Art of Landscape Photography by Joe Cornish
2003, Amphoto, Prices vary, ISBN: 9780817441524
Joe Cornish is one of the UK’s most well-known and popular landscape photographers, and this almost 20-year-old book gives an insight into his creative genius. Featuring 150 fantastic images, alongside his valuable insights on how the picture came to be made, plus technical info and the thought processes and creative inspirations behind each image.
Cape Light: Photographs by Joel Meyerowitz
2015 (originally published 1979), Prices vary, Aperture, 112 pages, ISBN: 9781597113397
Although currently out of print, this exquisite selection of photographs is widely regarded as one of the most influential and popular photography books, particularly as it was unusual at the time for its use of colour. Whether you can get your hands on an original print, or the 2015 re-edition, you’ll find a masterful array of captivating shots.
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