Adventurous memories of a talented photojournalist that abound with wonderful surprises.

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ARCTIC SOLITAIRE

A BOAT, A BAY, AND THE QUEST FOR THE PERFECT BEAR

Souders offers a debut account of his photographic travails in Canada’s Hudson Bay area.

The author, a Seattle-based photographer who’s done work for National Geographic and Life, tells of when he went in search of polar bears in the remote reaches of northeastern Canada. This book, based on his notes from four boat trips between 2012 and 2015, offers a pleasurable excursion into the arctic wilds, interspersed with excellent, colorful images that give a good sense of the landscape, such as one of melting sea ice and a distant forest fire. Before embarking on an account of his journeys, however, Souders describes his own background, including his youth in rural Pennsylvania, his time in journalism school at the University of Maryland, and his experiences as a photojournalist in Haiti and South Africa. After Souders decided that he wanted to pursue nature photography, he studied “the masters of my craft—everyone from Ansel Adams to Art Wolfe, Galen Rowell, and Frans Lanting—and I did everything I could to make my photographs look like theirs.” In Seattle, he purchased a C-Dory boat—nicknamed “C-Sickfor his excursions throughout the Hudson Bay. The rest of the book relates in sumptuous detail how he searched for sea ice and polar bears from Marble Island to Wager Bay and Melville Peninsula. While exploring the Nunavut and Manitoba Territories, he chatted with Inuit hunters and fishermen, made satellite calls to his wife back home, sipped bourbon alone on his boat, and, of course, took photos. Souders writes with a journalist’s eye for detail: “I glassed all the different shapes and contours of the melting sea ice looking for any sign of polar bears.” It’s also a pleasure to read his descriptions of the landscape, animals (“Mom and cute cubs on a summer stroll across the rocky tundra. I watched her progress through the long lens, the steady click, click, click of the shutter matching her steps until she filled the frame”), and locals he met along the way.

Adventurous memories of a talented photojournalist that abound with wonderful surprises.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68051-104-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Mountaineers Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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A succinct, passionate guide to fostering creativity.

HOW TO BE AN ARTIST

A noted critic advises us to dance to the music of art.

Senior art critic at New York Magazine and winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism, Saltz (Seeing Out Louder, 2009, etc.) became a writer only after a decadeslong battle with “demons who preached defeat.” Hoping to spare others the struggle that he experienced, he offers ebullient, practical, and wise counsel to those who wonder, “How can I be an artist?” and who “take that leap of faith to rise above the cacophony of external messages and internal fears.” In a slim volume profusely illustrated with works by a wide range of artists, Saltz encourages readers to think, work, and see like an artist. He urges would-be artists to hone their power of perception: “Looking hard isn’t just about looking long; it’s about allowing yourself to be rapt.” Looking hard yields rich sources of visual interest and also illuminates “the mysteries of your taste and eye.” The author urges artists to work consistently and early, “within the first two hours of the day,” before “the pesky demons of daily life” exert their negative influence. Thoughtful exercises underscore his assertions. To get readers thinking about genre and convention, for example, Saltz presents illustrations of nudes by artists including Goya, Matisse, Florine Stettheimer, and Manet. “Forget the subject matter,” he writes, “what is each of these paintings actually saying?” One exercise instructs readers to make a simple drawing and then remake it in an entirely different style: Egyptian, Chinese ink-drawing, cave painting, and the styles of other artists, like Keith Haring and Georgia O’Keeffe. Freely experiment with “different sizes, tools, materials, subjects, anything,” he writes. “Don’t resist something if you’re afraid it’s taking you far afield of your usual direction. That’s the wild animal in you, feeding.” Although much of his advice is pertinent to amateur artists, Saltz also rings in on how to navigate the art world, compose an artist’s statement, deal with rejection, find a community of artists, and beat back demons. Above all, he advises, “Work, Work, Work.”

A succinct, passionate guide to fostering creativity.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-08646-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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A fascinating, major work that will spark endless debates.

WARHOL

An epic cradle-to-grave biography of the king of pop art from Gopnik (co-author: Warhol Women, 2019), who served as chief art critic for the Washington Post and the art and design critic for Newsweek.

With a hoarder’s zeal, Andy Warhol (1928-1987) collected objects he liked until shopping bags filled entire rooms of his New York town house. Rising to equal that, Gopnik’s dictionary-sized biography has more than 7,000 endnotes in its e-book edition and drew on some 100,000 documents, including datebooks, tax returns, and letters to lovers and dealers. With the cooperation of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, the author serves up fresh details about almost every aspect of Warhol’s life in an immensely enjoyable book that blends snappy writing with careful exegeses of the artist’s influences and techniques. Warhol exploded into view in his mid-40s with his pop art paintings of Campbell’s Soup cans and silkscreens of Elvis and Marilyn. However, fame didn’t banish lifelong anxieties heightened by an assassination attempt that left him so fearful he bought bulletproof eyeglasses. After the pop successes, Gopnik writes, Warhol’s life was shaped by a consuming desire “to climb back onto that cutting edge,” which led him to make experimental films, launch Interview magazine, and promote the Velvet Underground. At the same time, Warhol yearned “for fine, old-fashioned love and coupledom,” a desire thwarted by his shyness and his awkward stance toward his sexuality—“almost but never quite out,” as Gopnik puts it. Although insightful in its interpretations of Warhol’s art, this biography is sure to make waves with its easily challenged claims that Warhol revealed himself early on “as a true rival of all the greats who had come before” and that he and Picasso may now occupy “the top peak of Parnassus, beside Michelangelo and Rembrandt and their fellow geniuses.” Any controversy will certainly befit a lodestar of 20th-century art who believed that “you weren’t doing much of anything as an artist if you weren’t questioning the most fundamental tenets of what art is and what artists can do.”

A fascinating, major work that will spark endless debates.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229839-3

Page Count: 976

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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