A couple of years ago, Ohio’s Governor John R. Kasich visited the Museum Store at the State House in Columbus, and noticed to his disappointment that there were no Ohio picture books on display for visitors to purchase. A few days later, I received a phone call from Gillian Berchowitz, Director and Editor-in-Chief at Ohio University Press, inviting me to collaborate on a new Ohio “coffee-table” book to fill this gap on the shelves of the State House Museum Store and other bookstores around the Buckeye State.
Producing a new, large-format book of Ohio photography is not a task to be taken lightly. We decided to make the project even more challenging by committing to include at least one image from each of Ohio’s 88 counties in the book. To the best of my knowledge, no prior book of Ohio landscape photography, including more than a dozen of my own Ohio photography books, had managed to showcase every county in the Buckeye State.
The 9×11-inch book has 281 pages and 288 color photographs. When I had completed an initial submission of several hundred images to the editors at Ohio University Press, I realized that the Columbus and Dayton areas were not well represented, and we were missing images for about 20 of Ohio’s 88 counties. Fortunately, my friend and fellow Columbus-based photographer Randall Lee (Randy) Schieber agreed to collaborate with me on this book project. Randy has produced several excellent photography books on Ohio and has a wealth of fine landscape photographs taken in Columbus and southwest Ohio, as well as images of cultural events around the Buckeye State, and the inclusion of more than 100 of his best Ohio photographs has improved the book a great deal. I made several trips to produce photographs in missing counties, especially in northwest Ohio, and Randy Schieber filled in the remaining missing county images in southern Ohio.
The photographs are grouped into five Ohio regional chapters (Northwest, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, and Central), which also correspond to the regional maps included in my books, A Photographer’s Guide to Ohio – Volumes 1 and 2. Each photograph is accompanied by a caption, which includes the name of the subject and the Ohio county in which it is located. The book includes images of Ohio’s natural areas, rural scenes, public gardens and zoos, historical buildings, cities and towns, festivals and other cultural events, throughout the four seasons.
Each of the five regional chapters includes a one- to two-page opening essay by Ohio writer John Fleischman, who also wrote the book’s introduction. John is a very talented writer from Cincinnati who wrote the introduction and chapter essays for my first Ohio photography book, The Ohio Lands, which was published by Browntrout Publishers in 1994, and we were delighted when he agreed to provide the text for Ohio in Photographs: A Portrait of the Buckeye State. We were also honored to include a foreword to the book by Governor John R. Kasich.