From Publishers Weekly
"As a young anthropologist I never understood how I was supposed to turn up at some village... announce that I was staying for a year, and then notify the headman that he and his people were to feed and house me while I studied their lives," writes Davis (Shadows in the Sun: Travels to Landscapes of Spirit and Desire) in the introduction to this stunning collection of photographs that span the 25 years of his career. His solution was to find cultural common ground through the study of food and plants, which often was the ostensible reason for his travels through Canada, the Andes, the Amazon, Haiti, Kenya and Tibet. While Davis emphasizes that "at no time was photography [my] principal pursuit," his photographs are visually dazzling. A smiling Barasana boy of the Northwest Amazon holds a brilliantly colored macaw. A man in Haiti stands beneath the downpour of a torrential cataract, his clothes torn off by the force of the water. Indeed, these dramatic photographs frequently overshadow Davis's informative, witty essays, which introduce each of the seven chapters. In these, he shares anecdotes about the people he's met, reflects on the effects of colonialism in these areas and laments the uncertain fate of groups like the Penan of Borneo and the nomads of Kenya. Beautifully designed and produced, this album will delight armchair travelers.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Ethnobotanist and anthropologist Davis, author of One River (1996) and Shadows in the Sun (1998), has traveled the world for 25 years, pen and camera in hand, to study the myriad ways indigenous people live in physical and spiritual intimacy with the natural world. Driven by curiosity and a profound respect for the "ethnosphere," humanity's diverse "thoughts, beliefs, myths, and intuitions," Davis has dwelled among the people of the Arctic, the Amazon, Haiti, Kenya, Borneo, Australia, and Tibet, learning their modes of being, cosmologies, and botanical expertise. His quest has rendered him acutely sensitive to the connection between biodiversity and cultural diversity, and as he portrays in pellucid language and magnificent photographs healers, shamans, hunters, and men, women, and children adept at survival in the most demanding of wildernesses, he decries the rampant environmental destruction and globalization that are decimating indigenous cultures, thus depriving future generations of their knowledge, wisdom, and unique perspectives. Aesthetically powerful in both word and image, this essential volume opens readers' eyes and imaginations to the wonders of the earth and humanity's varied "insights into the very nature of existence," a bounty and legacy we simply cannot do without. Donna Seaman
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