Peak Light by Dave Butcher

I bought Peak Light by Dave Butcher at the final Focus on Imaging show earlier this year.  I was passing the Ilford Harman stand and saw that it was on special offer.  It's a book I have been meaning to add to my collection of UK outdoor photography books for some time.  I wanted the book, not so much for the artistic merit of the images, but for the empathy I have with the author as a traditional black and white photographer with an interest in the same geographical area as myself.

From a technical and artistic point of view, I would describe most of the images as good quality record shots that could be equalled by any competent photographer who understand how to handle black and white film.  There are also a few images about which I would question their inclusion as they are particularly weak.  Dave Butcher is clearly not a photographic artist as compared to John Clow, David Herrod or Barry Thornton. These could be taken as negative comments, but this isn't my intention.  Butcher's approach is more generic than measured, but it is the unpretentious impression of the images that I like about Peak Light.

The author states that he uses the Mamiya 7 and two or three lenses (mainly).  Again, I can empathise with his choice.  I used the Mamiya 7(ii) very successfully for several years myself and it is a fine, if somewhat idiosyncratic camera.  However, it is the wide angle Sekor lenses that really are the stars of the M7/7(ii) system.  The 43mm, especially, was my 'standard' lens, however,  I sold my entire M7(ii) kit a few years ago, my preference being the the Fuji GSW690111 and it's amazing fixed 65mm Fujinon EBC lens. Of the two, the Fuji GSW is the camera I found myself using most when out in the hills.

As a hillwalker who spends a reasonable amount of my outdoor time walking, photographing and wildcamping in the Peak District National Park, I would say Peak Light by Dave Butcher is an inspiring book and worth it's place on the bookshelf.  As a landscape photographer, it's always interesting to see how others approach their craft.  There is a recognisable style to Butcher's images, the book is brought together as a cohesive overview and accomplishes it's purpose.  Anyone who has an interest in walking and making photographs in the Peak District could not fail to be inspired by Peak Light.  For the most part, the images are exactly what we see when we are immersed in this unique landscape.  Even Dave Butcher's weakest images in the book will stir memories of past Peak District excursions and inspire the reader.

Recommended.




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