‘All I want,’ I moaned to a friend ‘is to be a sent a book to review about which I can be positive.’ I know that there are good books out there, you see, but none of them had made its way into my review pile recently. But it seems as if someone, somewhere, was listening to my plaintive calls, for I was sent what is a rather beautiful coffee-table photography book for review. (Whilst I seem to have someone’s ear, perhaps I should put in calls for world peace and an end to oppression, too?)
It’s 365 Photography Days, by Phil Gould. It charts Gould’s year-long around-the-world trip that he decided to take after escaping with his life from a plane crash in Alaska. He mapped out just where he would like to go, and being a photographer, set himself the challenge of capturing a defining image for each day of the journey. From South Africa, to South America, to North America, to Australasia, and back to South Africa (often via London) he gave himself the opportunity to get some fabulous shots. He didn’t disappoint, either.
For me, the best shots were certainly his wildlife ones, whether chipmunks, cheetahs, or kangaroos. It seems to be where he’s most comfortable practising his craft. However, that doesn’t mean his portraits or architectural photos aren’t worth looking at. They definitely are, and even more so when viewed in the context of such a remarkable travelogue. Even the photo of the toilet roll holder in his bathroom, the day that he had food poisoning and couldn’t go anywhere, contributes to the vast horizon that he experienced.
This is a coffee-table book, and the photos are given centre stage accordingly. Still, there is also the requisite degree of commentary along with a photographic tip for each image. It’s the photos that tell the story, though, just as Gould intended.
For anyone who states travel or photography as their interests, I could recommend this book as a gift. Do take a look.