West Coast

Bering to Baja

Simon Winchester

Date Published :
November 2012
Publisher :
George F Thompson Publishing
Contributor(s) :
David Freese, Naomi Rosenblum
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781938086045

In stock


There is no more beautiful or alluring coast in the world than the West Coast of North America: a 5,000-mile-long region that extends from the Aleutian Islands of Alaska to Canada's British Columbia, south to Washington, Oregon, and California, and then to Baja California in Mexico. No photographer until David Freese has explored the various and wondrous landscapes along the Pacific Ocean in such depth, making this the first book to look comprehensively at what makes the natural beauty of this particular coast so memorable. Behind the scenery, of course, lie the geologic forces that have created the West Coast landscapes that we now admire, explore, and praise. The engaging and informative text by renowned author Simon Winchester grounds us in understanding the deep relationship between geology and scenery. And Naomi Rosenblum, the esteemed photographic historian, writer, curator, and art critic, firmly establishes David Freese's place among the great landscape photographers of the past and present. In every photograph, his unique vision of nature and of place comes shining through. West Coast: Bering to Baja is a major publishing enterprise that will appeal to book-lovers of photography, nature, and those who dream about visiting and touring North America's West Coast. For here we see the vital connection between art and science merge in ways previously unseen for this special region of the world.

About The Author

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.

Simon Winchester was born in North London, England, in 1944, and was raised there. After receiving an undergraduate degree in geology from Oxford University in 1963, he worked as a field geologist in Africa for a Canadian mining company before switching careers in 1967 and becoming a journalist for The Guardian and a frequent commentator on, and contributor to, BBC radio. Over the years Winchester has written for Smithsonian, National Geographic, and Conde Nast Traveler magazines, and he is the author of more than twenty best-selling books, including The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary (Harper Perennial, 1999), The Map that Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology (Harper Perennial, 2001), Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded (Harper Perennial, 2003),A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906 (Harper Perennial, 2005), and Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories (Harper Perennial, 2010). In 2006, Winchester was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for "services to journalism and literature." His Website iswww.simonwinchester.com.

Naomi Rosenblum was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1925, and moved to New York in 1933. She received her Ph.D. in American art history in 1978 from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and today is an esteemed photographic historian, writer, curator, and art critic. She has been on the Acquisitions Committee of the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography, a Scholar-in-Residence in the Photography Department at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and a member of the Board of Advisors for the Paul Strand Committee of the Aperture Foundation. She is the author of five landmark books, including A World History of Photography, originally published in 1984 by Abbeville Press and now in its fourth edition, and A History of Women Photographers, originally published in 1996 by Abbeville Press and now in its third edition. She has also written numerous articles on contemporary American, Canadian, and European photographers as well as various movements in photographic history. In 1998, Naomi and her husband, noted photographer and teacher Walter Rosenblum, were awarded the Infinity Award for Lifetime Achievement by the International Center for Photography in New York City. Her Website iswww.rosenblumphoto.com.


"This black and white photography book has an unusual format in that the photos are rather small, about 4x6 inches framed by a large amount of white space surrounding them on each page. Mr. Freese is the first to make a book of photographs documenting the entire west coastline of North America from the Bering Straits in Alaska to the tip of the Baja peninsula at Cabo San Lucas. The photographs are presented as if you are traveling from North to South in the order in which a driver would see the sights. Each photo emphsizes nature, omitting almost entirely the impact of man, so that the resulting images could have been made in the 19th century. However, the skilled photographer that David is, he has combined film photography with digital and has manipulated the photos in the computer to their best presentation. The accompanying text is beautifully written and deeply enhances each image, as well as explaining what is depicted."

- Bonnie Neely, Real Travel Adventures, November 2012

"Experienced freelance photographer David Freese and writer Simon Winchester have gotten together to change the way readers see the West Coast. They do it through a book of photographs of wild landscapes from the northwest tip of Alaska to Baja California. The photos are in black-and-white, beautifully printed with plenty of white space, and owe a great deal to Alfred Steiglitz and Ansel Adams. As simply a book of landscape photographs, they owe too much to Adams and Steiglitz, though they are often breathtakingly lovely. This is where the book's idea comes in. By combining digital sepia and black-and-white toning effects from the Photoshop tradition with skilled 35mm camerawork from the Adams/Steiglitz tradition, Freese's images get readers to notice that the iconic images of pioneer photographers are the same territory as contemporary California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. In its careful balancing of deep honesty and sleight of hand (in Los Angeles, the wilderness of the Santa Monica mountains is now a portrait of the sky), the book inspires us to ask where we have come from, where we are now, and where we may be going. It's an equally good question about art, the environment, and culture. The book's foreword is by photographic historian and critic Naomi Rosenblum. Winchester's text is a spare, restrained partner in the project. He focuses the reader's attention on geology, the fluid tectonic nature of landscapes that, on the scale of a human lifespan, seem poised between changelessness and catastrophe. The book offers a postmodern turn with old-fashioned care for skillful, serious craft. For any general reader, it can be simply a quietly beautiful coffee-table book. For readers tuned to its key, interested in photography, wildlands, West Coast history, or contemporary art, it may also inspire wonder on another level."

- Books News, Inc., February 2013

"What elevates West Coast: Bering to Baja above the level of a mere coffee-table book is the consciousness behind it. This deftly balanced combination of ecology, geology, geography, and history is presented through a photographic vision in which its environmental message comes through as clear as the natural imagery. While areas of the Pacific Rim have been captured visually many times before, it's rare to find them presented sequentially in one volume. Though the reproductions are not as large as one might expect from a hardcover, the quality of the presentation compensates by offering very educational contents. Ultimately, this book instills within us an awareness of both the fragility of the landscape and the majesty of the vast geological forces over which we have little control."

- City Book Review, March 2013

"There's a natural serene beauty that the Western side of North America carries, unique to it and it alone. West Coast: Bering to Baja is a collection of photography focusing on the western coast of the continent, from the frost touched coastlines and forests of Alaska to the sun and sand of California, using sepia tone to set a mood all throughout the coast with high quality photography all throughout. For those who want to experience much of North America's natural beauty, West Coast: Bering to Baja is a much recommended pick not to be overlooked."

- Midwest Book Review, March 2013

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