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Galen Rowell: A Retrospective Hardcover – October 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint; 1 edition (October 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578051150
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578051151
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 10.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Photographer Rowell's athleticism enabled him to reach nearly inaccessible yet perfect vantage points for viewing magnificent vistas. He loved the palettes of sunrises and sunsets, rainbows, the northern lights--any form of concentrated heavenly light--and was particularly inspired by Tibet. "Sometimes film and human imagination work together to produce . . . images that are more powerful than reality," Rowell once observed, and, indeed, the nearly 200 images reproduced here capture sights far beyond the ordinary. This stunning retrospective celebrates Rowell's dynamic life and mourns his accidental death in 2002. Born in 1940 in California, Rowell was a world explorer, a humanist, and a tireless preservationist who hoped to "protect wild places by revealing their beauty." Friends and colleagues testify to Rowell's spirit and accomplishments, from Tom Brokaw, who describes Rowell's photographs as "great, soaring symphonies," to fellow nature photographer Frans Lanting, who points out parallels between Rowell's sublime photographs and the luminous paintings of the landscape painter Frederic Church, dubbing Rowell a "modern transcendentalist." Rowell awoke us to the majesty of our planet and the need to cherish it. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"[This] retrospective of Rowell's work, produced by his long-time publisher, Sierra Club Books, is a fitting memorial to this visionary photographer . . . His remote landscapes, weathered villagers, intense mountaineers, wild creatures, and phenomena of light are vibrant testimonials to Rowell's many loves." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Galen Rowell, internationally renowned photographer and mountaineer, is the author of such acclaimed books as My Tibet (with His Holiness the Dalai Lama) and Mountains of the Middle Kingdom. His work regularly appears in Life, National Geographic, Outside, and Sports Illustrated.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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If you like nature photography, this is a must-have item for your book collection.
Kim J. Malco
Rowell's vision remains his own, and he leaves a legacy of photographs that resonate deeply in this book.
Ed Uyeshima
The reproductions are superb and the photos are presented here in sizes large enough to appreciate.
Ricardo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Ed Uyeshima HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I had the privilege of taking a photography class from the renowned Galen Rowell a few years before his tragic death in 2002. I remember very well how he told of his painstaking effort in racing across a plateau to capture the end of a rainbow as it looked like it was landing on the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. His images have inspired me to take my travel photography more seriously, even if his techniques went well over my head. Fortunately, the Sierra Club has seen fit to produce this handsome tribute, which contains about 175 of his most impressive photos, many never before published. I own a couple of his photo collections already, but the cumulative effect of this book is mesmerizing.

Even though he was heralded as the natural successor to Ansel Adams because of the vivid landscapes he often captured through his lens, Rowell was actually at his best when he showed the striking juxtaposition of a human element in his nature pictures, for example, showing rock climber Ron Kauk precariously clinging to the underside of a precipice on a Marin beach. What comes across quite clearly is a man who fulfilled his life philosophies every day, a passionate melding of artist, adventurer and environmentalist, who made a pint of anticipating his opportunities while living in the moment. To reinforce this, the editors have incorporated several testimonials from Rowell's colleagues and admirers such as Tom Brokaw, mountaineer Conrad Anker and photographer Frans Lanting, who lends particular insight into Rowell's singular motivation in transcending the reality of what he saw.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Ilachinski on September 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Galen Rowell pioneered "participatory (wilderness) photography," in which the photographer becomes an active creative participant in fine-art image making. An accomplished outdoorsman and adventurer, his deep emotional connection to nature pervades virtually all of his photographs. Another signature characteristic is his vivid use of color during the "magic hour" (at sunrise and sunset); indeed, it is arguably true that Rowell was as much a "master of color" as Ansel Adams was a master of black & white. (It is fitting that he received the Ansel Adams Award for his contributions to the art of wilderness photography in 1984.) The life of this extraordinary artist was cut tragically short in 2002 when the plane carrying Rowell and his wife (Barbara Rowell, herself an accomplished photographer) crashed as they were both returning home from a Workshop in the Sierra Mountains.

Rowell's famous photograph, "Rainbow over the Potala Palace" (which appears among the first few two-page-spread images lovingly reproduced in this fine retrospective volume) is, according to Rowell himself, one the great photos of his life. I remember seeing it years ago for the first time, and was then (as I still am now) simply in awe. It is a magnificent Wagnerian-like "epic" photograph; a perfect symbolic synergy of aesthetics and spiritual depth. It is also a quintessential example of Rowell's lifelong practice of participatory creation.

According to Rowell, this image was captured not long after a trekking group (consisting of about 15 people) that Rowell was a part of in Tibet was called to dinner.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Steve Shuey on September 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Coming around 4 years after the untimely death of Galen and his wife Barbara, this book does not disappoint those who enjoyed his photography. I certainly do and have for many years. This book contains a lot of photos (over 175) from early stuff to photos from his last expedition for Nat Geo. Divided into 7 main sections, you will see many of the most famous of his photos but what I like is that there are photos in there I was not familiar with. I have nearly all of his books so I like seeing stuff I have not seen before. For instance a few climbing photos of Ron Kauk and Lynn Hill, or one of 2 skiers descending the Ruth glacier in Alaska, or one from Lake Powell. Also nice are the little spot essays of some of the photos such as one by his daughter Nicole about the Lynx photo from Alaska. I'm not sure the printing of the book is of superior quality. Some of the colors seem off and a lot of grain shows up. That really is my only complaint. I am very happy to have this book, although I would rather see photos from his latest expeditions instead of a retrospective. This book is certainly worth the money.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Ricardo on December 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I received the book as an early Christmas present but I doubt that I would have purchased it otherwise. That would have been my loss.

As an amateur photographer for 40+ years, I'm familiar with Rowell's work and techniques. To be candid, I find much of Rowell's work a bit unnatural. His mastery of the split neutral density filter, while undeniable, often resulted in many of his photos being a bit "over the top".

While I understand that such filters are sometimes needed to control the brightness range of certain scenes on film, they also sometimes tend to impart tonalities not found anywhere in nature.

The Singh Ray filters that Rowell used are said to be color-neutral. If that's true, I simply don't understand where some of those sky colors originated. I've used several different Kodachromes as well as Velvia and am familiar with those emulsions. Even Velvia's super-saturated colors don't really explain what's going on here.

That said, Rowell's photos are often mesmerizing. That Rowell knew his craft is obvious. One can easily become lost in the sometimes surreal worlds that Rowell could create. The reproductions are superb and the photos are presented here in sizes large enough to appreciate.

Anyone familiar with photography has to marvel at the sharpness of Rowell's handheld shots. How anyone could hang over an abyss and come away with such technically superb results is beyond belief. Yet, Rowell did it and did it consistently.

There are also shots that he obviously made from a tripod. In these, Rowell realized the full potential of his Nikkor lenses. Being familiar with Nikon lenses, the list of lenses that Rowell used came as a bit of a surprise.
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