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Wales A Photographer's Journey Hardcover – Illustrated, 1 Jul 2012
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While it is hardly rare for a photography book to invite you on a tour of the British countryside, David Wilson's monochromatic and deeply personal exploration of Wales is well crafted enough to stand out in a crowd. As Griff Rhys Jones notes in his introduction, Wilson's style suits Wales without flattering it. The black & white format works best with the bare trees of the Brecon Beacons, the low-hanging mists of wintry Pembrokeshire and storm clouds gathering over Three Cliffs Bay. [...] Wilson clearly loves to explore and this collection of sparse haunting images sweeps you right along with him. --Amateur Photographer 4 August 2012
A near-death experience spawned a love of photography for David Wilson. Hospitalised with a broken neck and back, concerned medics gravely intoned that hed probably spend the rest of his days in a wheelchair after coming off his motorbike while trying to avoid an oncoming car in his native Pembrokeshire 28 years ago. The prognosis was pretty grim says the 47-year-old from Haverfordwest. It seemed unlikely I d ever walk again, although the weirdest thing was how calm I remember feeling about the whole thing. Some people might say I was in shock or denial, but I simply refused to accept my fate and clung to the crazy notion I d be okay somehow. And, after six months in treatment including gruelling physiotherapy at a specialist spinal unit in Llandaff, Cardiff he was permitted home, able to walk again but in the knowledge he wouldn t be able to get about like he did before. I think that s where my camera probably helped a lot, he says, admitting that without the hobby he d taken up the year before he d have found his rehabilitation much harder. When you re in the state I was in you can feel very self-conscious, like everybody s pitying you, so being able to go out to take pictures helped a lot. The thought there might be an image just round the corner spurred me on. And the wealth of such sights around his home of Llangwm provided the content of Pembrokeshire (Graffeg, £25), Wilson s first book of striking monochrome landscape photos in 2009. It proved to be a world away from the office existence with which he d paid his way until that point. I used to work in the civil service processing forms all day long and, God, it was awful. And after that I ended up working in a call centre, which was even worse, so me and my wife Anna sat down to discuss the mad idea of me switching to photography full-time. It was a big gamble, what with our mortgage and everything, but I ve been lucky to be with someone so supportive. And now Wilson s latest offering, Wales: A Photographer s Journey, sees the snapper turn his sights to the whole of the country, with 150 atmospheric black and white images capturing everything from the slate mines of Blaenau Ffestiniog, through to the antiquated frontages of Hay-on-Wye s many bookshops and the panoramic splendour of Gower s Three Cliffs beach. The first book was easy to do because everything was right on my doorstep I knew what I wanted and went out and got it But when you take on an entire country you have to be a lot more focussed and plan your trips otherwise you end up driving up blind alleys. So I did my research, grabbed my map and off I went. And while his shots do indeed evoke the stark and demanding beauty of rural Wales and its harsh abstractions and bare outlines as broadcaster Griff Rhys Jones so poetically puts in the book s foreword Wilson admits he s always keen to include the evidence of human existence in his pictures, if not actual people themselves. Say, for instance, I wanted to photograph a mountain I d have to try and get a glimpse of road, a telegraph pole or a wash --Western Mail 14 July 2012
About the Author
David Wilson was born and brought up in Haverfordwest and now lives just a few miles downstream in the riverside village of Llangwm with wife Anna and son Charlie. His love of photography began when he bought his first camera aged seventeen, and he spent many carefree days riding around Pembrokeshire on his motorbike with his 35mm Canon and an ordnance survey map, learning to take photographs while exploring the coast and countryside.
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Top customer reviews
The production quality of the book is excellent, the only quibble being that some of the larger plates are run across the gutter and, due to the otherwise sturdy binding used, cannot be flattened. Covering thirty six locations across 160 large format pages, those who love the Welsh landscape, in all its moods, will find this a worthy runner-up to being there within it.
My only niggle would be that some images run over a page spread and therefore can't be laid flat due to the binding. But this really doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the book.
Basically if you have any interest in landscape photography, buy this. If you have any interest in Wales, buy this. If you're interested in both, stop reading this and buy the book.
Each of the 36 locations covered within the book has its own introductory paragraph or two, which details Wilson's experiences, and there are some handy tips on technique and composition. Lovely as they are, you don't really need these little insights as the photographs speak for themselves and are clearly imbued with Wilson's love of his native land.
Only problem is .. I'm now homesick!
Well done David Wilson ..