If, as I suggested, you visited the World Press Photo exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall and came away thoroughly depressed about what a horrible, cruel world we live in, here is the antidote – and its right next door at the National Theatre.

Take a View – Landscape Photographer of the Year 2009 showcases an awesome selection of the best photographs from this year’s competition.
Snow-capped mountains , verdant forests and craggy coastlines abound here but many of the less grandiose shots in less rugged settings – the piers and parks, ponds and pastures, the snow-covered rooftops and deserted country roads – are just as powerful.

 LPOTY- ParminterBuachaille Etive, Rannoch Moor, by John Parminter

Exhibitions like this remind us that despite the doom and gloom on the

news, and our own troubles, we live in a staggeringly beautiful world –

and indeed a beautiful country, since the pictures here were all shot

in the UK. I hadn’t got even halfway round the exhibition before the

radio in my head started playing Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World.

Yes, it’s a cliché – I need to sack the DJ – but it was very

appropriate.

LPOTY- BauerThe Old Pier, Swanage, By Mark Bauer

If there’s any cause for depression here it’s only from a feeling of

inadequacy at one’s own skill behind a camera. At least, that’s how I

felt gazing in awe at these beautiful images, exquisitely printed to

huge sizes by Epson, one of the sponsors. That, and the knowledge that

I’ll probably never get shots like these unless I too am prepared to

get up in the middle of the night and drive for miles, or camp for days

on a freezing mountain to wait for the perfect light. Some of these

photographers really suffered for their art, but looking at the results

they must surely think, as I do, that it was all worth it.

 LPOTY- McIlreavyAbove: Hadrian’s Wall by Chris McIlreavy

Take a View – Landscape Photographer of the Year 2009 is on show at the National Theatre until 24th January.