Early in his photography career, Fred Neveu was exposed to the Navajo Blessing Way chant and took to heart its glorification of beauty “all around.” The photography in his book reflects that beauty, and his openhanded sharing of techniques and places to photograph reveal a welcoming and generous spirit.
Susan J. Tweit’s biography of Neveu, sandwiched between Neveu’s photographs in this coffee-table book, concentrates on his maturation as a photographer and on tips he shares with other photographers. Tweit’s writing style is simple and engaging. For example, Tweit reports that Neveu was drawn to the outdoors even as a child. Speaking of moving with his family to a “brand-new home” with no grass in the front yard, he remarks: “I was so excited to explore that I went outside and got full of mud—even my boots had mud inside them.”
The photographs here are mostly in color and are, for the most part, stunning. Neveu focuses his lens on mountains, fields, rock formations, water bodies and waterfalls, old homesteads, trains, mines and trees, with the occasional animal (think deer, pronghorn and elk), flower or human thrown in. Most of the photographs were taken in western American and at Canadian national parks and monuments.
Although sometimes the photographs lean too extravagantly into the orange spectrum, the pictures are always composed with a careful eye to light, distance, balance, texture and, sometimes, drama (i.e. a photo of a train pulling into town with its smoke billowing above the water tower).
Each photograph has a caption indicating where it was taken, and Neveu often offers lens, speed, or application advice. For instance, to make the water in a waterfall look like it’s “still moving,” Neveu advises using “a long shutter speed with your camera on a tripod.”
For its finely honed photographs, Seeing Beauty is sure to provide a welcome grace to any coffee table and, for its advice, will interest other photographers, as well as general readers.