Well, I feel I've returned to my roots this week, upon viewing the re-issue of Galen Rowell's 'Inner Game of Outdoor Photography'.
I'm a huge fan of the late Galen's work, as it was he, that set me in motion to get out there and make my first early morning images.
So coming across this book, which is a re-issue, was quite something because it has taken me right back to my own beginnings. Right at the start of my own photographic development, I came across Galen's work in the form of his book 'Mountain Light', which is by most accounts a classic in the philosophy of outdoor photography. Unfortunately, Mountain Light is no longer in print, which I feel is a sore omission. I didn't think I'd see another Rowell book which would come close to what Mountain Light had to offer, but I'm pleased to say that 'Inner Game' is a worthy match to Mountain Light and I've not been able to put it down since i got it a week ago.
Containing 66 essays compiled from his monthly regular column in the USA edition of Outdoor Photography, Galen covers all aspects of outdoor photography.
From the onset, Galen prepares us for what he has to say by giving us a little background to his own upbringing. His mother was a cellist, and as he says, 'my mother didn't didn't teach the cello, she taught people'. Galen conveys this as a way of saying that people are ultimately behind the images that a camera creates. It's something I firmly believe myself.
Inside the book, the late Galen discusses many aspects of outdoor photography as you will see by how the book is divided up:
1. Visions - Mysteries of the creative and cognitive processes
2. Preparations - pushing the limits of equipment, film and technique
3. Journeys - Merging visions and realities
4. Realizations - communicating your world view through photography
There are many inspiring moments within and If I could leave you with one, it would be this:
"The fact that no major publication would print my well-executed photo of Warren Harding hanging on Half Dome, a newsworthy event in which I was directly involved, led me to my local camera store, where in December 1968 I purchased a Nikon FTn with two lenses"
One thing leads to another, and I find that such a powerful statement. We are who we decide to be, and in Galen's case, he made his own 'history'. Driven to get a camera because his friend had been overseen by the local press turned out to be a gift to us all. Galen's work has been hugely influential to me and many others. If you're feeling a little low on inspiration, then by all means, this is a superb remedy as well as a great introduction to the late great Galen Rowell.
If you'd like to buy a copy, it seems that the 'global empire book stores' have missed out on this one and either don't list it in it's reissued form, or the price is downright crazy. Just as well, because my good friend Neil at 'Beyond Words is offering it here for a very nice price.