Review of New Zealand: Untouched Landscapes – Petr Hlavacek

Posted: April 13, 2019 in nonfiction, photography, Review
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New Zealand: Untouched Landscapes is a fresh and strikingly beautiful collection of landscape photographs that have been captured throughout the country by professional photographer, Petr Hlavacek. From our most iconic locations to harder-to-access and protected areas, New Zealand: Untouched Landscapes presents the pristine and diverse landscapes of this country, often from a new perspective.

Petr’s photography is motivated by the opportunity to promote greater public awareness of our fragile landscapes, a landscape he is passionate about protecting. Petr Hlavacek is an important new talent among New Zealand landscape photographers.

New Zealand: Untouched Landscapes

Petr Hlavacek

Potton & Burton

Supplied by Potton & Burton

Reviewed by Keith and Jacqui Smith

I think we’ve all seen those coffee table books full of pretty pictures of places in New Zealand; souvenir shops and airport bookstores specialise in them. At first glance this might seem to be more of the same, but although it does fill that niche, it is much, much more. Our first reaction on opening the book was “Wow!” And there was more “wow” on page after page. You may take it that we were impressed.

This is a book of New Zealand landscapes; some relatively familiar, some more remote, all pristine, magnificent, and full of untouched beauty. Some are positively primeval – the Lake Wahapo kahikatea forest at sunrise struck me as practically Jurassic, only somewhat lacking in dinosaurs. All are photographed with consummate skill – believe you me, we can only wonder at the effort it took to get just the right shot at the right moment. You may think that landscape photography is easy – and it’s true that getting a good landscape with a decent camera isn’t that hard – but getting shots of this quality is not at all simple. We had to admire the skill and patience involved.

I have only a couple of small quibbles. It was only when I came to write this review that I realised that the book has no page numbers, which is understandable on double-page spreads, but when the photos do not extend to the edges, page numbers could be useful to help find that kahikatea forest I was talking about! And I would have liked just a little more text in places, explaining the landscapes to those of us who like our geology. But otherwise, this is a beautiful work of art, far from just another souvenir picture book.

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