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‘There ​is a slightly rotten shed in the middle distance. The sky unfurls in motorway diagrams of receding cumulus, wisping at the edges. The country has been entirely cleared of human beings, and almost nothing has happened in it since about 1760. Nothing blurs, and an electric neon-lit clarity hovers over the entire scene. There is a sense of perfection on the verge of decay… It is impossible to call Charlie Waite either a romantic or a classical photographer, since he finds in the most romantic of subjects the classic elements of balance, measured near symmetry and the comfort of patterned order.’

Thus, in his eloquent introduction, Adam Nicolson defines the sense of beauty and purity of the photographs in this book. In almost 150 images, the majority in colour, Charlie Waite illuminates a new way of looking at the landscape – one that avoids the twin pitfalls of hazy pastorialism and cheap quirkiness. Instead he has found a form of perfection that is as readily found in the uncelebrated and hidden corners of the countryside as in scenes already more familiar to us. The classic image of the Seven Sisters is seen completely anew, where dramatic folds of rock form a sculpted fringe to the sea. Yet just as compelling is his ability to reveal the significance of a solitary rock outcrop against the horizon, or the velvet veil of dew on fields in the early morning.

These harmonious yet intens images are admirably complemented by Adam Nicolson’s perceptive essay on the different ways in which we respond and attempt to understand the landscape. But above all, this book will satisfy the need for a tangible record of the richly patterned landscape of Britain, whose subtlety of shape and form, whose drama and tranquility, is shown here with such indelible force.

‘… a splendid compilation, invigorating to read and staggering to look at.’
Johh Hillaby

‘What an enjoyable book this is … a delightful miscellany of landscapes … the text by Adam Nicolson if fascinating and thought provoking essay on our relationship to the landscape.’
Camera

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Charlie Waite (left) was an actor for ten years before taking up photography professionally. He first worked for the Salisbury Playhouse as an assistans stage manager, later acting in various roles on the repertory theatre circuit. His initial interest in the camera grew through photographing stage productions and fellow actors. But he became increasingly absorbed in the landscape, which has become his speciality and his passion. He is married to the actress Jessica Benton. They live in London with their daughter Ella.

Adam Nicolson (right) read English at Magdalene College, Cambridge. He contributes regularly to The Spectator, The New York Times and other national journals. He has written two very popular books about walking, both illustrated by Charlie Waite: The National Trust Book of Long Walks and Long Walks in France. He lives in Leicestershire (when not away on his travels), and is married with a son.

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