Wednesday 2 September 2015

Book Review: Isis Sousa & Ove Neshaug – 'No Escapes Vol. 1 – Melancholic Beauty In Norwegian Landscapes'

'No Escapes Vol. 1 – Melancholic Beauty In Norwegian Landscapes'

The prevailing mental image of Norway is one of expansive landscapes full of fjords, rivers and snow-capped mountains. A primal kind of beauty that gave rise to a rich mythology and folklore spread throughout Europe by the seafaring people who dwelt there. The first in the 'No Escapes' series from Isis Sousa & Ove Neshaug that depict a photographic journey into the seasons and terrain of the country.

The book is in part a photographic exploration, but with both creators coming from artistic backgrounds there is a lot more to this. The photography of the autumnal landscapes are beautiful and capture a certain bleakness, but one that is strangely inviting. With each set of pictures from the locations they visited, the duo add an accompanying piece of text outlining their impressions of the area as well as notes on how the shots were taken.

Despite the fact this is a Norwegian published book, the text is in strong written, and grammatically correct English. It avoids hefty jargon and keeps things simple. The result of which is an exceedingly easy read that puts the emphasis on the art.

Perhaps best of all though is the extra attention given to detail, making this a very useful resource, not only for photographers, but also anyone who likes to capture landscapes in other mediums such as paint. Each photograph comes with an accompanying colour pallet which breaks down all the subtle colourings, as well as notes on the compositions of the pictures.

'No Escapes' is a photobook that wants you to be inspired, and wants to make things as easy for you as possible. The photographic gear used is listed, and coupled with the colours, compositional notes and text on impressions of the areas and how they took the photos (even the CDs they listened to!). It's all there in a solid hardback edition on thick paper to show what is possible if you want to set out on a journey of your own, or purely as a reference for painting, sketching or design work. It doesn't appeal to any one technical level or specifically push itself as an art reference book, but instead gives you a bit of everything with an emphasis on the visual aspects and avoiding lengthy textual breakdowns.

With this being the first volume of a series it sets up the expectations for what will surely follow well. It promises a series that is heavy on aesthetically pleasing visuals and straight to the point with its descriptions and notes on compositions. And with a country such as Norway, the potential for this series is high.

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