ARCTIC SOLITAIRE by Paul  Souders

ARCTIC SOLITAIRE

A Boat, a Bay, and the Quest for the Perfect Bear
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KIRKUS REVIEW

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-Sick­—for 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. 1st, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-68051-104-8
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Mountaineers Books
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2018




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