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Poles Apart: Parallel Visions of the Arctic and Antarctic [Paperback]

Galen Rowell

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Book Description

11 Jun 1997
The harsh beauty of the polar regions has long fascinated explorers and armchair adventurers alike. The forbidding terrain and exotic life-forms appeal to our sense of wonder, and while we may think of them as similar, the Arctic and Antarctic are as unlike as Kansas and Kenya. In Poles Apart, Galen Rowell takes us on an exhilarating visual journey to the top and the bottom of the world, using his camera to reveal the fascinating differences in these polar opposites. In Part I, Rowell's side-by-side photographs highlight the contrasts between North and South. The photo essays of Part II continue the comparisons, developing such themes as Arctic and Antarctic science, polar bears and penguins, and visits to the North and South Poles. Part III provides detailed information on the story behind each photograph as well as technical data of interest to photographers. Galen Rowell is known for choosing subjects that, while beautiful, are unfamiliar to much of his audience. Yet his books enjoy wide appeal because he accurately focuses--in images and words--on the essential spirit that sets his subjects apart from the rest of the world. So it is with the distant lands and seas of the polar regions, which hold valuable lessons for all of us concerning evolution, geology, history, human endeavor, and the impact of human greed. No other vast areas of the earth remain as pristine, and for Rowell, the Arctic and Antarctic have become metaphors for those intangible elements that define the earth's wild places. In a world fast becoming a theme park of artificial experience, his book is an invitation to understand and appreciate what is real.

Product details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; New Ed edition (11 Jun 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520209028
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520209022
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 29.1 x 27.3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,832,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"A cross between Sir Edmund Hillary and Ansel Adams, Rowell has become a cult figure to climbers and photographers alike."--Margot Dougherty, "People Weekly

About the Author

Galen Rowell (1940-2002) devoted his life to wilderness exploration, photography, and writing, making more than twenty journeys to the polar regions. In 1992 he received a grant from the National Science Foundation to travel around Antarctica with scientists to research this book. Rowell is a recipient of the Ansel Adams Award for his contributions to wilderness photography, and his work has often appeared in Life, National Geographic, and other major publications. Among his eleven previous books are Galen Rowell's Vision: The Art of Adventure Photography (1993) and Mountain Light: In Search of the Dynamic Landscape (1986). He photographed and produced My Tibet, with text by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, for the University of California Press in 1990.

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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Experience the stunning beauty of the Earth's poles! 15 May 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This is much more than a coffee table book, though its unique photographs of the pristine beauty of the Arctic and Antarctic would impress even the most casual of browsers. A short story about each photo is included, along with more general, thoughtful and poignant commentary from someone that is truly in touch with the global environment. Rowell is one of the great nature photographers, and this is a stunning collection
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By FLYING.STARTS@MCI2000.COM - Published on Amazon.com
Turning to page 74, my Danish-born wife, Aino, was amazed to discover her little town of Scoresbysund. She spent her fomative years(age 5-12)growing up there, where her father, Dr. Werner Mortensen, served as the sole doctor for the area of 3 villages.
Galen Rowell's photography captures the typical beauty of a Scandinavian mileau, even though it is truly a facade for the garbage that the typical native Greenlander casts no further than his front door!
His words portray the many problems of the native Inuits, who have been unable to adapt to the influence of Danish culture and progress. For Rowell to elaborate on the problems of alcholism, violent crime, and the high rate of suicide in a village of only 500, distinguishes him as an author that researchs his subjects quite well! It brought back memories for my wife of the "Grundlander" that beat his wife with the carcass of a frozen seal, only to have his wife bite of his ear.
The large yellow building in the left foreground is the eight bed hospital; the little red house with white trimmed windows that is over to the immediate left is where family Mortensen grew up from 1966-72. This book really takes my wife back,and helps me see things that were only in her mind's eye. It also brings her up to the what the present day Scoresbysund has become. And now that my family will be moving to Fairbanks,Alaska, my wife can get a sneak preview of our future from this marvelous book. Having lived in Alaska myself, I definitely recommend this book for its shear splendid photography and candid commentary. Great job Galen!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST-HAVE picture volume 26 Sep 2003
By Anthony Chiu - Published on Amazon.com
Wow, what a great and such awesome picture volume. This book not only shows you pictures from the Arctic and the Antarctic, it particularly reveals the true differences between the two polar regions...they ARE truly different and fascinating! This book also delivers very-high quality photography, which can easily tempt you into travelling to such exotic destinations.
In the book, you will find 2 pictures side by side-one showing the Arctic, the other showing Antarctic. That way, you will get an idea of its differences. In addition, there is a separate chapter that dedicates to interesting stories regarding these regions, anything from life in Siberia, Inuit life in northern Alaska, to the South Georgia Islands & the South Pole. Last, but not least, there is also a whole section reviewing all the pictures showed in the book, including background information describing each photo, etc.
This is truly an amazing picture volume that is a MUST-HAVE for any polar fanatic. Get prepared for over 180 pages of some superb photography and much info on these fantastic regions. For the money, it was quite worth it...
5.0 out of 5 stars North Pole - South Pole - Brilliant concept, better execution 4 Jan 2007
By L. Hanback - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are a fan of Galen's work you will certainly enjoy this book. The concept, comparing and contrasting the two poles, is brilliant.

The photographs are typical Galen - beautiful, engaging, illuminating. The accompanying text provides context and insight.

There is an essay section at the back that provides some insight into how Galen thought about the photos that appear in this book. Very interesting reading and a great teaching aid for amateur photographers and photojournalists.
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