Landscape Photographer of the Year 2018

Off we went to Waterloo Station to visit this annual exhibition of UK landscape photographers.

This exhibition also tours the rest of the UK via the rail system; below you’ll find the venues and dates:

London Bridge – 18 February to 10 March 
Edinburgh – 12 March to 26 March 
Leeds – 28 March to 14 April 
Manchester – 16 April to 30 April 
Liverpool Lime Street – 1 May to 19 May 
Birmingham – 21 May to 9 June 
Victoria – 10 June to 24 June 
Paddington – 25 June to 9 July 
Reading – 10 July to 27 July 

Looking at this list, hopefully you will see that it will be coming to a venue somewhere near you! After all, the main sponsor of this competition is Network Rail. We guess they would welcome you to purchase a train ticket to go and visit the exhibition!

Our views – from me and our guest contributor – are purely our own opinions and you may have your own thoughts on both the photography and venue (Waterloo Station as an Art gallery)!

I go to visit this exhibition every year because I enjoy it. I also like to share the experience with my friends and family as this brings a healthy exchange of views and opinions on the displayed images. With any art form there is no wrong or right. The art produced by the artist is his or her expression of their creativity.

Interestingly, this year, I felt there was almost an accidental theme to the exhibition which is also reflected in the book – one of depicting ‘cold’ in various photographic settings which were stunningly produced . And very appropriate given the extremely cold venue that Waterloo Station is at this time of year!!

Waterloo Station as a venue for this exhibition – although in some ways looking at images in a cold environment may help you to experience the photographs three-dimensionally, I don’t feel it works for me. My experience has been over many years, in many galleries, the benefits of a warm, relaxing, peaceful environment, that is, places that have created a suitable environment for looking at artwork. Whereas a train station, with all due respect, is purely a means to an end, either starting your journey or finishing it. It’s also very busy, noisy and at times, an environment which I don’t find particularly enjoyable at all!

Why not just buy the book instead you may ask? Well I do buy the book as well. It works as a visual reminder of the artwork that I have enjoyed. I can see it, share it with others when I want to, in the way I want and the environment I wish to create. This year I successfully purchased my copy of Landscape Photographer of the year, volume 12, at Foyles Bookshop for half price – that was a great bonus! It’s a great coffee table book but you also need a good strong bookcase to put it in. However it is not a substitute for seeing the larger prints in an exhibition. This is the reason why I like to visit galleries. Printed books and computer screens don’t do the real thing justice.

At this stage in the blog, I would like to thank my friend and guest contributor for her valuable experience and shared thoughts at these exhibitions:

“This is the second time I have visited this exhibition and, unlike Mark, I would treat this as a portable gallery that has numerous venues across the country which are potentially accessible to a wide viewing public who may not otherwise purposely visit a gallery to see them. There’s an element of juxtaposition as busy lives meet calm, serene photographic images that make you stop and stare. True – it is pretty cold in most stations at this time of year but I’m overcome by the content of the exhibition and cold fingers and toes are put aside for later!

I cannot buy a fridge magnet or any other gallery paraphernalia, so I concentrate on the ‘looking’ as I know I’m unlikely to see them again. I’m interested to see that Photoshop is a major contributor to the finished pieces and, as Mark says, the original photograph is only the sketch for the finished work! It is, of course, difficult not to enhance your work when so much is possible, and why not – it’s your work.

The exhibition gives me hope that even I, with my camera phone, can take shots that have a considered creativity although without the fine tuning that technical expertise brings! The images give me a desire to ‘look better’. Whether I travel to take a shot of something I love or whether it’s a simple shot of the high street, I would hope to capture something beautiful in its own way.

I recommend this exhibition to anyone who just loves photography and for the lasting impact it has on creating interesting landscape photographs. It can be easily shared with a friend on the way to work, or make a special time to visit like we did. It’s free, bar the rail ticket if you’re not local. So make the time to experience this one and only photographic exhibition sponsored by Network Rail – in my opinion they should do more stuff like this!”


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