The Great Wide Open has the byline New Outdoor and Landscape Photography. If it is really new and if you should get a copy, you read in my review.
I like the Gestalten Verlag. They make cool coffee table books with great photos and texts, so when The Great Wide Open appeared on my radar I was eager to check it out. An email and a few days later the heavy book slammed on my porch, ready to be browsed.
However, opening the book the euphoria quickly ended. Sure, there are very fine images in there, but just as much of them look like they’re shot on an iPhone for Instagram and not for a large coffee table book. It feels like every other photo is a grainy mess that looked great on your Instagram feed when seen on a smartphone but shouldn’t have been printed in such a large format. Speaking of Instagram, if you’re on it and follow some landscape photographers then you’ll have seen the vast majority of these images in one form or another already. Another disappointment was that you could clearly see in many images that they have been taken not far away from a road or civilization - given that the Prologue of the book refers to Ansel Adams and how he would set off on long expeditions to capture expansive, wild landscapes that feels a bit wrong. Oh, and if you don’t like Chris Burkard - don’t get the book. Half the images are from him, and while they’re technically very good I personally find them a bit boring. On ther other hand, if you love him - get the book!
But for all that there’s also some very great & inspiring photos in the book. The pictures from Anki Grøthe, Kilian Schönberger, Jimmy Chin, Logan Watts and a few others are crisp, sharp and with a fresh perspective on the outdoors. Add in the small stories and anecdotes from the photographers, athletes and outdoor folks and you get a book that will inspire you at least for one afternoon. Well, maybe a couple more. And if you like Instagram photos and would love to see them in a big book, you’ll probably read it every day! So if you feel like you want to give The Great Wide Open a chance and browse it yourself then order it directly at Gestalten or Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.de.