This lovely little book is part of the Pictorial Souvenir series from Ness Publishing which between them cover many of the more scenically inspiring areas of Scotland with titles like Ross and Cromarty, Royal Deeside, Northern Argyll, and The Isle of Skye.
The formula for each book is similar, with a brief introductory text leading you into the photographs themselves, each of which comes with a detailed caption telling you what you are looking at. A book of photographs stands or falls on the quality of the photographs it contains. The photographs that make up Aberdeenshire, A Pictorial Souvenir are excellent, and the care that has clearly gone into selecting a set are fresh and interesting and which show off the best that the area has to offer is impressive.
What you get from the book will depend on how much you already know about the area it covers. The photographs are ordered geographically, and you start on Aberdeenshire's north coast before looking at inland areas of northern Aberdeenshire. The tour than tracks back across central Aberdeenshire to Donside and the foothills of the Cairngorms before moving south once more. Stonehaven and the Mearns follows, en route to a finishing collection of images of the Cairngorm Plateau. The end result is an ideal primer for anyone simply wanting to get a feel for what Aberdeenshire is like. On the other hand, we approached the book with a fair knowledge of the area. We were pleased to find that, as with other books in the series, we were fascinated to see how someone else viewed and presented this area: while all the time making mental notes of places we had missed and viewpoints we need to visit for ourselves.
What on the surface appears to be, and is called, A Pictorial Souvenir, is easy to dismiss as of interest only to visitors to Scotland, to be purchased alongside the shortbread and the whisky miniature. On closer examination it turns out to be of interest to a much wider audience because, at the risk of repetition, of the quality of the photography it contains.