I was really delighted when, over a year ago Luis Manuel Iglesias Nuñez asked me to provide a preface for a book he was writing.
We have never met but we have built up a strong link because of our shared interest in the small things in this world. Luis had bought and read a copy of a book of mine on macro photography, quite a few years ago, that had been translated into Spanish.
And here is the result, a superbly illustrated work – the text is authoritative and in Spanish …but the pictures are that universal, visual language and they are of superb quality with a very wide range of subjects and techniques on display.
This is a highly personal book for it reveals the way Luis takes his photographs and provides an insight into his lifelong passion for the natural world….particularly its smaller inhabitants.
It is easy to get locked into a particular style in any photographic field and many do so in close-up photography, using one macro lens and depicting the same few species in the same way. For example, if you look at the results in various UK competitions, then there is a sameness…nice pics yes, but nothing to write home about…and yet, when you begin to look wider into European competitions there you see a tremendous diversity of techniques, styles and subject matter. It comes as quite a shock to see the standards out there… and we all need that jolt at times to prevent complacency setting in.
It can be truly stimulating to do this and, via the internet for example, to get ideas for your own endeavours. Luis’ work is exceptional – often original, experimental and fascinating, displaying a great variety of techniques and subjects and providing reasons enough for those who would never consider buying a book in any language other than English to break that habit of a lifetime.
Having been involved for decades in the area of close-up photography from ultra-wide to the use of microscopes I have been asked on a number of occasions to write reviews of new books on ‘macro’, that catch-all term used for images at close quarters. I truly welcome books that are well written by people who have a love of their subject and can match technical and artistic skills with a care and concern for the subjects and the worlds in which they live…variety is the spice, as they say.
Thus, I welcomed the chance to write an appreciation of what Lois has done for those very reasons. Sadly, it is not always the case and, I have declined, on several occasions, to endorse a book because it has clearly been written to fill a space in a publisher’s list by some opportunisitc generalist who plagiarises material (such as that I and others have written based on long experience) and then, in a clumsy effort to disguise sources, makes mistakes that make it obvious they do not really know what they are talking about.
In contrast, this really is an excellent book – and in these days of Google translate you can read the text, or maybe even learn some Spanish… many technical words are easily recognisable.
© Paul Harcourt Davies