Book Review: Journey Through the British Isles
Author: Harry Cory-Wright
Date: September 2007
This book is simply magnificent! In March 2006 Harry Cory Wright started off on a journey around the British Isles that was planned to last six months. The aim was simple, to capture the beauty that is the British Isles. Whilst most of us would probably use a high end digital SLR, Harry Cory Wright used a large format 10 x 8 view camera and travelled in a campervan to slow himself down and immerse himself. The journey started in the Shetland Isles and travelled south through Scotland, down the north-west of England, through Wales and around the coast all the way to East Anglia then back up north to Scotland and the Western Isles.
The book is the result of that journey and beautifully captures "The beauty of ordinariness" (as noted by Adam Nicholson in the forward). It is not a series of chocolate box images of Britain, thank goodness. Nor is it a collection of beautiful sunsets. It is however a wonderfully executed collection of images of the British Isles at their best. Early morning creates images that glow, midday introduces more contrast and later in the day warms images up again. The images in the book are taken at all times of day but times that suit the prevailing weather conditions to get the best light and that hard to describe additional dimension to each photograph in the book.
These photographs are not taken in perfect weather. There's fog, rain, mist and bright sunlight. Skies are often overcast. Yet the photographs are not the dull, lifeless images you might expect - they somehow come alive to show the real beauty that is the British Isles.
The book is large format - not much of an enlargement from his 10 x 8 sheets of film, but at a size that allows close study of each image. The print quality is fantastic and on paper that does not reflect every lightbulb unlike many other coffee table books!
I cannot recommend this book enough as a wonderful illustration of the beauty of the ordinary British landscape. It is also a wonderful inspiration that great photographs can be taken in almost any light and weather - if you can appreciate what it can do and how to harness that light.