Photograph Guide Evaluation: “Our Nationwide Monuments” by QT Luong

An important tome for any photographer who visits and values public lands

Photo of Our National Monuments book cover

One among my favourite methods to get pleasure from and find out about nature images is thru printed books and through the years, I’ve gathered a big, various assortment. A lot of the books on my bookshelf match properly right into a single class: portfolio, planning useful resource, reference, cultural/pure historical past, or images training.

Generally a ebook may match into two of those classes, however it’s uncommon to discover a publication that’s all of this stuff in a single quantity. As a result of they’re each so complete and obtain a stage of excellence in every of those areas, Our Nationwide Monuments: America’s Hidden Gems and Treasured Lands: A Photographic Odyssey via America’s Nationwide Parks, each by QT Luong, are important books for any photographer who values and visits public lands in the US.

Though I personal and worth each books, this overview is concentrated on Our Nationwide Monuments. I purchased Our Nationwide Monuments through the pre-order part and after I obtained it, I flipped via the images and browse a few of the essays introducing every nationwide monument.

My preliminary impression was fairly optimistic: lovely printing on substantial paper, a complete narrative about every monument, and in-depth photographic protection to convey the textual content to life. I lately used Our Nationwide Monuments to assist plan a future images journey and this expertise with the ebook made me recognize it much more.

Beginning with a foreword written by former Secretary of the Inside Sally Jewell and an in-depth introduction overlaying the origin of nationwide monuments together with an outline of the conservation points going through these lands, the remainder of the ebook is organized by state. Inside every state, particular person chapters deal with one nationwide monument (the ebook covers twenty-seven nationwide monuments in whole).

Photo of a photo book


Every chapter opens with a story, often written by a nonprofit group that helps and advocates for every park, that represents the angle of these closest to the monument and provides context concerning the panorama. A complete collection of full-page images from round every nationwide monument follows, overlaying the key highlights, some lesser-known spots, and extra intimate views.

After the images, Luong gives reference info together with a useful overview map, orientation info, an outline of the park’s seasons, and a dialogue about every of the previous images.

When taken individually, every of those chapters gives a superb introduction to every monument: the native perspective, a way of the conservation points, context for the realm’s geography, pure and cultural historical past, helpful journey planning assets, and concepts for a way a images journey may work. When taken collectively, Our Nationwide Monuments is an unbelievable achievement as a piece offering inspiration, info, and advocacy in a single quantity.

Photo of photo book

Writing about public lands in the US is a sophisticated endeavor proper now. With the COVID pandemic encouraging extra folks to get exterior, power underfunding for federal parks and public lands, ever-changing public coverage, and social media making info way more accessible, locations like nationwide parks, monuments, and different federal lands are beneath loads of strain.

With these traits in thoughts, the tendency amongst conservation-minded nature photographers appears to be to guard info as a substitute of sharing it, with the hope of preserving some locations off the overwhelmed path. With Our Nationwide Monuments, Luong has chosen a unique strategy.

Photo of photo book

By offering context about every place, details about the very actual threats to a few of these landscapes and exhibiting vital reverence for every place via each the writing and the images, this ebook has the potential to encourage a a lot deeper appreciation for these comparatively unknown public lands. Even when this ebook will convey extra guests to a few of these locations, it takes a accountable, respectful strategy to educating extra folks concerning the significance of America’s nationwide monuments and hopefully helps construct an even bigger, extra invested constituency for shielding particular locations throughout the US.

For all these causes, I extremely advocate Our Nationwide Monuments as a vital a part of any images ebook assortment.

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