East Coast

Arctic to Tropic

Simon Winchester

In West Coast, David Freese changed the way we see the Pacific coastline. In East Coast, he presents an equally expansive photographic sojourn from Greenland to the Florida Keys.
Date Published :
January 2017
Publisher :
George F Thompson Publishing
Contributor(s) :
Jenna Butler, David Freese
Illustration :
185 color photographs and 1 color map
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781938086441
Pages : 320
Dimensions : 11.875 X 10 inches
In stock


The East Coast of North America is a wondrous, intriguing, yet threatened coastline. It zigs and zags for more than 5,500 miles and assumes a multifaceted, jigsaw shape from the Arctic Circle and Greenland across the Canadian Maritimes, then southward into Maine, Cape Cod, New York Harbor, the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays, along the Outer Banks to Charleston Harbor and on to Cape Canaveral. It ends at the Dry Tortugas on the western tip of the Florida Keys near the Tropic of Cancer. In this companion book to "West Coast: Bering to Baja", David Freese has once again captured a vast coastal region—one that presently faces a major peril from the rising sea brought about by global climate change and higher temperatures on land and in the ocean.

There are wonderful surprises here. The remote regions of Greenland, northern Quebec, Labrador, and Newfoundland offer breathtaking beauty that many people would not normally associate with the East Coast. As seen from the air, there are estuaries, fjords, cities, rivers, bays, wildlife refuges, parks, beaches, and islands that create stunning abstract shapes which also reveal their fragility in the face of the increasing sea-level.

Simon Winchester, always the master storyteller, provides the informative and captivating tale about the geological underpinnings and climatic history of the Atlantic seaboard, including an ominous view of what lies ahead. Jenna Butler, an award-winning Canadian author, gives a noteworthy commentary on Freese’s photographs, as she places the images in context with the expansive North American environment and explains the effects and risks of global warming to the populations of Canada and the United States.

"East Coast: Arctic to Tropic" is the perfect complement to "West Coast: Bering to Baja", in which Freese explored the creation and dangers associated with the North American portion of the Pacific’s Ring of Fire. Together, the books provide a unique photographic and historical record of these two remarkably diverse Atlantic and Pacific Coasts at the very start of a true land-and-sea change brought about by human use of fossil fuels. In "East Coast: Arctic to Tropic", an extraordinary sequence of photographs tells the Atlantic tale and reveals an ocean that lies in wait.

About The Author

Simon Winchester is a journalist and New York Times best-selling author of more than twenty books, including The Professor and the Madman (1999), Krakatoa (2003), and The Man Who Loved China (2008). His most recent titles include Atlantic (2010), The Men Who United the States (2013), and Pacific (2015). In 2006, Winchester was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to journalism and literature, and, on July 4, 2011, Winchester was naturalized as a U.S. citizen on board the U.S.S. Constitution.

Jenna Butler is a Canadian ecocritic, organic farmer, beekeeper, and author of three critically acclaimed books of poetry and a collection of essays, A Profession of Hope: Farming on the Edge of the Grizzly Trail (2015). Butler’s work as an academic, creative writer, and ecocritic has taken her around the world, from the Deep South of the United States to the Arctic Circle onboard a barquentine sailing ship.

David Freese has spent the last fifteen years photographing the West and East Coasts of North America, resulting in two books” West Coast: Bering to Baja (2012) and East Coast: Arctic to Tropic (2016).. In addition to his ongoing fine-art projects, he has worked as a freelance assignment photographer on location for more than thirty years and has taught for years at the Film and Media Arts Department at Temple University. His prints are in many collections, including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Denver Art Museum, Haggerty Museum of Art, and Library of Congress. Freese’s photographs have appeared in Communication Arts, Photo District News, Photo Insider, Polaroid International, Popular Photography, Smithsonian Air and Space, and View Camera magazines. His images can also be seen on the Internet at LensCulture and at the Art Photo Index.


"David Freese's approach to photographing the North American landscape culminates in images that are both new and part of a tradition that can be traced back to that of the American Luminous tradition on through Western exploratory photography of William Henry Jackson, Timothy O’Sullivan, Carleton Watkins, and Eadweard Muybridge during the nineteenth century. Those classic, pinpoint-sharp photographs sufficed with light became the source material for artists and lawmakers to preserve and value these landscapes before and after the Civil War. Freese’s vision, like those of his famous predecessors, connotes an artistic sensibility of hope and loss while inspiring awe and woe."

- William Williams, Professor of Fine Arts and Curator of Photography, Haverford College

"From Greenland's glaciers to the industrialized swamps of New Jersey, to the exposed Outer Banks to the Florida Everglades, David Freese reveals a remarkable graphic beauty all along North America’s ecologically vulnerable East Coast. His delectable images at once entrance us and warn us of the fragility of our coasts in the face of global warming and our human desire to live by the sea."

- Stephen Perloff, The Photo Review

"David Freese’s compelling photographs depicting the Atlantic seaboard are both an invaluable historical record of what things look like now as well as a timely wake-up call to how easily coastal communities everywhere along the East Coast will be affected by a rising sea-level and increased extreme-weather conditions."

- Jolene Hanson, Director, The G2 Gallery, Venice, California

"Once again, David Freese and his camera have captured the endless scenic variety of a continent's edge. But these extraordinary images of North America's East Coast do something more subtle as well—they help us see the vulnerability of a landscape poised on the brink of a changing climate. The result is both moving and sobering."

- Michael Brune, Executive Director, The Sierra Club

“David Freese hadn't considered an East Coast version of his book West Coast: Bering to Baja, a dramatic look at the West Coast of North America from the ground and from the air. That changed in 2012 when Superstorm Sandy struck and Freese visited New York and New Jersey. Once he saw the devastation, he decided to begin a project that showcased how the rising waters were affecting cities, islands, national parks, and national wildlife refugees through aerial photography on North America's eastern shore (there are also images taken from the ground)."

- David Rosenberg, Slate

"A unique, thoughtful and thought-provoking photographic compendium, "East Coast: Arctic to Tropic" is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to personal, community, college, and university library."

- Midwest Book Review

“Exploring the jagged eastern coastline of North America with a mixture of aerial and land-based photography, Freese demonstrates the interconnectivity of land and sea, muting cityscapes and cultures to intensify the correlation between water and land… With these elegant reproductions, Freese has expertly documented the ageless and seemingly impermeable elements of the coast, as well as a threatened landscape facing the perils of climate change.”

- Photographer's Forum

"Freese’s sepia-toned images recall 19th-century landscape photography, and the use of the medium as a form of activism goes back to that era... One of Freese’s most haunting landscapes echoes Stoddard’s vision, focusing on the silhouetted skeletons of trees caught in the rising currents on South Carolina’s Edisto Island. While the American government continues to lag in addressing climate change, photography can, hopefully, be a catalyst for action."

- Hyperallergic

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