This massage is crossposted.
I received my copy a few days back and I had only given it a cursory glace and I remember being impressed by the "moody" quality of Meriel's pictures. Until this morning, that is; over a few leisurely cups of coffee - Sunday morning stuff, I looked at the issue more closely.
I am no expert at printing, never spent any time printing in the darkroom, but plenty of time printing quad inkjets from MF and 4x5 scans. I must say the very first photograph (page 37) immediately caught my eye. I can clearly see a transition line just above the gate, going along the entire frame horizontally. The tree trunks in the vicinity of the gate below this line have detail, while above the line they go into black. Having no experience in the darkroom, my first reaction was "sloppy use of a graduated nd filter". Now I must say it did not send me into a paroxysm of emotion distress or anything so dramatic, but I noticed it in that one picture and others upon close examination.
I am not intending to create more "darkroom vs lightroom" wars here, but my experience is in the lightroom, so one of the thoughts that ran through my mind was "I would have shot these without the nd grad, pull-processed the negative and opened up the shadows in PhotoShop". It is so easy to affect changes to ceratin tonal regions digitally, irrespective of their spatial position in the image frame. Now I understand that Meriel may NOT actually have used an nd grad.
Too bad because I like the images otherwise.