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An Ocean Garden: The Secret Life of Seaweed Hardcover – March 11, 2014

18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Beguiling. . . . Ms. Iselin’s images made using a flatbed scanner are a reminder that the natural world and that of abstract art aren’t that far apart.”
(The New York Times)

“Visually captivating . . . a visual delight.”
(ForeWord Reviews)

About the Author

Josie Iselin is a photographer, writer, and book designer with six previous books to her credit, including Beach Stones, Heart Stones, and Beach: A Book of Treasure. She holds a B.A. in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard University and an M.F.A. from San Francisco State University. She shows her artwork regularly at galleries and museums throughout the United States. Her work is on view at www.josieiselin.com. She lives and works in San Francisco, where she walks the beach often.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (March 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419711709
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419711701
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Josie Iselin is a photographer who has foregone the tradition of the camera; she uses her flatbed scanner exclusively to generate her stunning imagery. Iselin has created seven books on forms in nature, each more luscious in detail than the next. Beach Stones was the first, published in 2006 by Abrams, followed by Leaves & Pods and Seashells. A tiny book of Heart Stones came out for Valentine's Day, 2008. In Spring 2010, Beach: A Book of Treasure was published by Chronicle Books. As both writer and photographer, Iselin pushes deeper into what we find at the beach, both scientifically, personally and historically. The collaged imagery is spectacular, the text is lyrical and informative. The mix of science and artistry makes all these books provocative for both the visual explorer--those wanting to know more about the natural artifacts we find around us--and those concerned with where our planet is heading. Her sixth book, Sea Glass Hearts is a luscious gem of a book to match Heart Stones. Released in February 2012, it is full of sea glass imagery, with hearts to find on every page. Josie's newest book brings to light the beauty and science of seaweed. An Ocean Garden: The Secret Life of Seaweed was released by Abrams in March, 2014 and is Iselin's most substantial combination of art and science. The spectacular images of marine algae will knock your socks off while the accompanying essays lyrically combine the personal stake in our shores with the biology of seaweed: why it is so brilliantly colored, how fast it grows, and its essential qualities for our ocean's health and our own. A delight!

Josie Iselin lives on a steep hill in San Francisco with three chickens in her backyard.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Thomas F. Lee on June 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I spent much of my professional life studying seaweeds - those beautiful, highly adapted organisms, a vital nexus between the Sun's energy and the life in the oceans. I have never seen the seaweeds pictured as they are here in this magnificent collection of images and accompanying literate text. This book is a treasure - Rachel Carson would have loved it. Undoubtedly you will as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter D. Tillman VINE VOICE on July 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this one after enjoying the author's Beach: A Book of Treasures. Author Iselin picks up stuff she finds on her daily beach walks, mostly near San Francisco, and makes color scans for her books. For the seaweed, this works spectacularly well: the colors are luminous, and the occasional overlap of the seaweed fronds adds subtle darker tones. She says she scans some of them wet, and presumably salty -- she relates a disastrous experiment with rewetting seaweed with fresh water -- so her scanner must take a beating.

For this book, she had an expert adviser at UC Berkley, and also had access to UC's archive of herbarium specimens. She has scans of a number of these, even back to the 19th century, and they look about as good as the fresh ones. Pretty amazing.

Highly recommended for all California beach-walkers. While this isn't a guidebook, it will sharpen your attention when you come upon seaweed washed up on the beach. Now, if I could just ID the one that looks like a green moss puffball that I keep finding on the beaches around Cambria....

Below are a couple of sample photos, copyright to the author.
Happy reading--
Peter D. Tillman
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Shaw on March 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent text and images of seaweeds are beautiful. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in seaweeds or would like a good nature book on something different.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Trudy Woodward on December 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When I ordered this book on Amazon, I couldn't wait to have the real thing in my hands so I ordered it on Kindle. Just beautiful!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ginny H on May 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book! Who knew all this about seaweeds in a not too technical text? The illustrations are stunning.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Such a sweet little book of perfectly illustrated seaweed. It's really a very pretty book. I collect seaweed when at a beach and press it so it's actually helpful also.
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By Rebar on February 25, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautiful! Further, because most of the algae in the book are fairly common it's been a good tool to learn to identify many of the more common species in my area!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this as a gift for a marine life illustrator. She called right away to say that it beautifully brings attention to a rarely recognized subject.
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