The Art of Giving

The season's most sublime outdoor books

Dec 1, 2001
Outside Magazine

Neumeyer Glacier, South Georgia Island

South with Endurance: Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition 1914-1917, The Photographs of Frank Hurley
(Simon & Schuster, $50).
Without Frank Hurley's photographs of Sir Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic voyage, the Endurance expedition would be left largely to the imagination. This anthology features all of Hurley's nearly 500 images, including 32 color prints made from surviving Paget Colour Plates in a process using dyed potato-starch grains. Interspersed among Hurley's stark black-and-whites of the icebound ship, these rare images add a pale, eerie warmth to the Antarctic landscape and offer a staggering photographic record of one of history's greatest survival stories.

Ansel Adams at 100
by John Szarkowski (Little, Brown, $150).
This oversize jaw-dropper brings together two legends—photographer and environmental activist Ansel Adams and celebrated MoMA photography director emeritus John Szarkowski—to commemorate Adams's birth in 1902. The 114 images and introductory essay go far beyond the average dorm-room-poster centennial hoopla and recall Adams as the pioneering craftsman and mountain mystic that he was. Printed on 192 pages of thick-stock French paper and bound in soft Dutch linen, Ansel Adams at 100 expertly renders the photographer's "chords of tone." And, like the rest of his work, it simply feels good.
Eliot Porter: The Color of Wildness
essays by John Rohrbach and Rebecca Solnit, memoir by Jonathan Porter (Aperture, $60).
With the publication of his 1962 book, In Wildness Is the Preservation of the World, Eliot Porter virtually created modern nature photography. If some of the 110 images in this retrospective look familiar, it's because Porter inspired 40 years of imitators. In these pages, however, shots of poplars, rock faces, and streams reveal the master's unmistakable vision. Porter's photographs appear uncomposed, as if he simply let nature leap onto the negative, yet somehow perfectly balanced—the best work of a man who was both naturalist and artist.

Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife
edited by David Burnie and Don E. Wilson (DK, with the Smithsonian Institution, $50).
Animal is the ultimate zoological reference, with fat, lavishly illustrated sections on more than 2,000 of the world's species. Even if you don't care about the aerial boxing technique of hares or the ambush strategies of the marsupial mole (though how could you not?), the surprising photography on display here will keep you marveling at the breadth and bizarreness of the animal kingdom.

Dreaming of Africa,
by Denis Clavreul (Rizzoli, $250).
French watercolorist Denis Clavreul's elegant visual diary of three months in East Africa is part Lascaux painting, part da Vinci sketch: Ghostly washes of color (Masais crossing through mist) appear next to spare line drawings (storks basking in the sun). Fascinated with Africa since boyhood and trained as an ecologist, Clavreul captures the muted shades of dust and the bright gore of blood in a lioness's feast. If that doesn't make you dream of Africa, maybe this luxurious (and luxuriously priced) volume, with silky cloth box and ten frameable prints, will.

blower: Snowboarding Inside Out
by Jeff Curtes and Eric Kotch (Booth-Clibborn Editions, $55).
Check out any ski-resort half-pipe and chances are you'll see as many spectators with cameras documenting every 360 and fakey as you will boarders pulling off the tricks. That's the kind of multimedia immersion captured by blower, a sweet compilation of photos and profiles that covers the entire lifestyle, from freeriding to T-shirt art—as assembled by Burton photo team Jeff Curtes and Eric Kotch. In the true spirit of snowboarding, blower comes with a DVD showcasing the high-octane sights and bass-thumping sounds of the sport that Burton helped create.

Remains of a Rainbow: Rare Plants and Animals of Hawai'i
by David Liittschwager and Susan Middleton, foreword by W. S. Merwin (National Geographic Books, $65).
The Hawaii in this book is dramatically unfamiliar—you won't find palm-fringed Pacific beaches or migrating humpbacks. Instead, veteran nature photographers Middleton and Liittschwager trained their telephoto lenses on more than 130 of Hawaii's nearly lost natives, from the glinty-eyed Wøekiu wolf spider to the last known Clermontia peleana plant. Paired with poet W. S. Merwin's thoughtful foreword on the saving power of human compassion, these color portraits—the result of more than five years in the field—argue beautifully for protecting the imperiled.

Filed To: Snow Sports

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