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Item #: OP794-347
THE ART OF ADVENTURE Galen Rowell 1989 1st ed Large Format Hardcover DJ Fine
By Rowell, Galen
Price: $19.99


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San Francisco, 1989, 1st edition. 166 pp, 127 color photos. Large Format Hardcover, Dust Jacket, Fine condition.

This is a heavy large format book. Extra postage will be requested for Media, Priority Mail and International Mail.

Definitive retrospective of America's preeminent outdoor photographer. Stunning photos, sharp insights, practical advice.  
 
Wild horses thunder across the Patagonian plain ... Disheartened climbers retreat from the stormy face of Everest ... Buddhist pilgrims find nirvana in the shadow of a sacred peak ...

A rainbow touches the golden rooftops of a Tibetan palace ... Four men trek 285 agonizing miles across the magnificent isolation of the Karakoram Himalaya in winter ... A hungry hyena stalks flamingos at Ngorongoro Crater in Kenya.

Nearly two decades ago, a restless auto-shop owner left behind his socket wrenches and grease stains, and faced the future armed with a camera, a few promising pictures and a profound love of high, wild places. The Art of Adventure is a retrospective of the 20-year odyssey of Galen Rowell, now America's pre-eminent adventurer-photographer. Along the way, there are wild stories to tell, sharp insights to share and exotic geographies to explore. Like no other photographer of his generation, Galen Rowell has captured the romance of wilderness and the exitement of adventure travel.

''Our most articulate mountaineer.'' -Los Angeles Times
''Rowell has traveled to some of the most spectacular venues on the planet, and brought back images of such stunning truth-in-beauty clarity that the viewer can almost feel the bite of the arctic wind, the sharp, raspy coldness of granite beneath straining fingers ... '' -San Francisco Examiner

''His superb photographs ... give the impression that he has somehow overcome time; otherwise there's no accounting for his presence at so many sites on the verge of evanescence.'' -Washington Post Book World


A great traveler, Galen Rowell is also a generous one. He returns from the world's far edges with splendid gifts-frames of film saturated with light and color, faraway places and high adventure. Like the 18th century sketch-artists who accompanied Captain Cook to the South Sea islands, he shows us remote places and peoples with a faculty that transcends mere illustration.

'When Galen asked me to write an introduction to this book, I suggested that one of his many famous admirers might do a better job. Unlike Galen, I have no perceptible talent with a camera nor any suggestion of physical courage. For the last decade, our peculiar mission here at Collins Publishers has been to bring together a group of photographers to capture whole countries on film in a single day.
 
During the course of this odyssey, we have been privileged to work with some of the world's greatest shooters. Again and again, we have been amazed by their sheer talent. Like Galen, they are masters of light, color and composition and what Cartier-Bresson called, the decisive moment. They make the ordinary extraordinary.


After editing a dozen books and perhaps a million pictures taken by the pre-eminent lensmen of our time, we still wonder: What makes a good photographer great; what genetic quirk or germ of experience forms the piercing eye?

I remember walking across Red Square late one night with Eddie Adams, Pulitzer Priz winner and widely regarded as the photo journalist's photojournalist. Between furtive glances at our KGB tail, I asked him why some people can see a great picture before it is committed to film and others could not. Eddie, never known as a loquacious man, said he didn't know. Then he casually pointed at the half-moon rising beside a Kremlin tower. The tower was topped with an illuminated red star. It was perfect, just the right moment, and of course, I hadn't seen it at all.

So is all of this great photography business unexplainable because we have no lexicon? Is it like one explanation of early childhood-plainly remembered, but unexpressible now because we had no vocabulary then?

There is a case for that. At Collins, we work with photographs all day long nearly everyday, and a lot of what we do involves separating good pictures from bad ones. When we come across a bad picture, we can normally tell you why it is bad, and when we find a good one, we can frequently offer a comment on that, too. But on those very rare occasions when we find a truly great picture, that one in ten thousand rolls, we are nearly always at a loss for words. Why is this one frame of film so great? We can not tell you, but we know it is. And we know it as instinctively as we know the Grand Canyon is magnificent or the Taj Mahal sublime.

When we first saw the work of Galen Rowell we were at a loss for words. The breadth of his experience, the magnitude of his physical courage, his deeply held concern for the environment -- these were no match for the ineffable beauty of his pictures. His pictures took your breath away, transported you to faraway places, made you feel like a child again, snuggled in bed, reading Kon-Tiki.

Here also was that rare avis, a photographer who could write articulately about his work. A brave adventurer whose mad exploits had decidedly philosophical underpinnings. But when I asked him about his photography, how he made a rectangle of Kodachrome evanescent, why he dangled off thousand-foot cliffs to get ''just the right shot,'' Galen recalled his own boyhood.

Every evening before he went to sleep, Galen's father, a professor of philosophy at Berkeley, would read adventure stories to him:
John Muir's narratives from the Sierra and the Far North, Carl Akeley's African chronicles, William Beebe's reports from the seven seas.

As Galen listened, his father's voice became faint, the room dimmed, and he became lost in the tale. As his mind wandered, it composed magnificent pictures-pictures of storied peaks and mountain kingdoms, the Hindu-kush and the lush African savanna. Pictures much grander than the grainy little black-and-white illustrations on the page.

When he grew up, Galen went out to find the pictures he had already constructed in his head. And strangely, wonderfully, he did.

In the process, he met challenges of heroic proportions, and not ordinary, run-of-the-mill heroic, either. Galen became the elemental type who conquers mountains and fords dangerous streams, who tries to save the land and the animals, who walks 12 miles down Mt. McKinley though sorely wounded. In short, Galen became the outgrowth of his own imagination, the real-life version of a bold adventurer who usually lives only in the imagination of a 12-year-old boy.

This book of Galen's adventures is illustrated with his camerawork. In some ways, it is a mid-career retrospective of a great photographer's greatest pictures. A youthful 49-year old, Galen is now America's preeminent adventurer-photographer.

Can we explain why Galen Rowell makes these great pictures? Sort of. We know that he has hunted his childhood dreams with rare talent, for aptitude and steely determination. We know that like Ansel Adams before him, he not only says something well, but actually has something to say.

Can we tell you why his pictures are great? Probably not, but we're certain they are.'

-David Cohen, Editor


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