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OnLandscape - The Meeting of Minds - part 1 of 1 2

by Mike McNamee Published 02/02/2015


This was a two-day conference on landscape photography organised by OnLandscape magazine, a specialist emag on the subject. It was held at the Reged Centre which is located just off the A66, where it intersects the M6 motorway. As a venue it proved to be an excellent location: the food was good, the parking plentiful (the two most important criteria!) and for those minded to do so there was the opportunity to sneak off for a day or two's landscape photography either side. The theatre space was a good size for the approximately 130 delegates and the event was live-streamed by an internet link to any subscriber who wanted to join in, but could not travel. During the 30-minute intervals between sessions excellent coffee and cakes were served and it provided time for the trade sponsors to shows their wares.

In terms of content, the speaker line-up included an interesting mix. It ranged from the down-to-earth approach of Alan Hinkes as he risked all climbing the fourteen 8,000 metre peaks of the world (and finding time to photograph despite the gasping for air) through to the muchdebated jumble of Jem Southam's local ponds and coppices. In between times we were variously entertained and educated by a variety of the well-known names of landscape photography. There were no women speakers, a situation that is discussed at the end of this report.

For me the highlights were Paul Wakefield and Hans Stroud. Paul is a photographer with a substantial body of commercial success behind him and a considerable reputation. It was the first time I had heard him speak and he proved to be a modest, witty speaker who had the audience in stitches for much of the time and despatched a fabulous set of images with a few pithy remarks and a lot of anecdotes - it was a breath of fresh air! Paul has a recently published book The Landscape and I actually purchased it (yes with real money!!) so impressed was I with what he had to show us. As well as the book images Paul also showed work from some of his advertising campaigns including some big-budget work for Absolut Vodka (just how much does it cost to hire an ice-breaker cw helicopter for three days or so?).


The final talk of the conference was by Hans Strand. In some ways Hans was similar to Alan Hinkes in that he puts himself in some danger to get his images. In the Swede's case it was in getting to Iceland during the Eyjafallajökull 2010 eruption (in itself, getting there was a considerable adventure) and then hiring a Cessna pilot, with a no claims bonus as bad as any you might know, to fly him about the vicinity of the volcano.

Hans impressed even more with his command of the Iceland pronunciation (well he is a Swede!) but also showed helicopter shots of the mountain range towards Landmannalaugar. These images are almost surreal, so far removed are they from anything else we tend to see. It is almost impossible to resolve the image into something you recognise, a complex pattern of snowfields and highly coloured rhyolite volcanic rocks decorated by moss greens that are so vibrant as to appear equally unreal. Hans recently published a book called Iceland Above & Below which contains many of the images; it is well worth getting a look at it, but failing that, his website is also a feast for the eyes (

One of the quirks of the speaker's list was that all of them seemed to have visited Iceland at one time or another, in some cases many times. For a remote island with a small population, Iceland has done well with attracting photographers!

Joe Cornish was asked about the absence of female speakers at the meeting. He explained that they had tried, and failed, to engage any female landscape photographers to speak. Curious as to why this should be we set about doing some research and set Charlotte Moss to the task. Various other suggestions were made including the potential dangers to lone females, out in the countryside with a valuable haul of hardware about their persons. But this does not gel with lone, fellrunning females, mountain bikers, backpackers, etc and there are plenty of couples who go about their landscape photography together anyway. The topic is mentioned in the blog, Crionna Photography, belonging to the landscape photographer, Lynne Douglas. Interestingly she uses the phrase: "...before I had the photographic skills and techniques with both camera and software and before I had New York exhibitions or work in galleries, I dreamt of the images I wanted to make but was overwhelmed and intimidated by the highly technical world of photography."

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1st Published 02/02/2015
last update 18/07/2022 16:31:46

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There are 43 days to get ready for The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Novotel London West, Hammersmith ...
which starts on Wednesday 15th March 2023

Updated 18/07/2022 16:31:46 Last Modified: Monday, 18 July 2022