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.
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.
"Galen Rowell has a wonderful combination of qualities—eye, energy, intelligence, sensitivity, courage both physical and moral, and above all, heart. Very seldom have I experienced so clearly defined the connection between the artist and what he sees, feels, and does with the work itself."—Robert Redford
Silver medal for nonfiction., Commonwealth Club of California