The Grizzly Bear Family Book

Michio Hoshino, The Grizzly Bear Family Book, translated by Karen Colligan-Taylor, (New York: North-South Books), 1992.

Hoshino - The Grizzly Bear Family Book
Michio Hoshino is an amazing photographer. He has a wonderful capacity to capture wildlife in a way that shows their setting. Often this means making images without the super long lenses that are the trademark of other wildlife photographers. But just when I thought I had a sense of his style from other books, along comes a book full of close-up portraits of Grizzly Bears. Through careful observation, Michio gained almost an insider's look at the bears. I say almost because, tragically, a bear was the cause of Michio's untimely death. But that was after he had produced this wonderful book.

This is a book that almost cries out to be shared with children. It tells the story of the cycle of the year in the life of a bear through a few simple words and a collection of amazing photographs.

I just can't get enough of Michio Hoshino. I know that I never will.

Bush Pilots of Alaska

Fred Hirschmann, photographs; Kim Heacox, text, Bush Pilots of Alaska, (Portland, OR: Graphic Arts Center Publishing), 1989.

Hirschmann - Bush Pilots of Alaska
I love airplanes. I love small airplanes. I love airplanes that fly from unimproved strips and explore wild places. Alaska is the territory for real bush planes and Hirschmann has done a masterful job of capturing them. Heacox's text does honor to the pilots and the pictures of the airplanes are a treat for those of us who love to look at flying machines.

One of the things about this book is that both Hirschmann and Heacox avoid the trip of glamorizing or glorifying bush flying. They present it as it is. Serious business with serious dangers that requires more judgment than bravado. They don't gloss over the fact that many good people have been killed in airplane accidents in Alaska. The weather is demanding and machines fail. Furthermore, rescue from the outside is a difficult and sometimes impossible challenge. The ability to survive with one's own resources, abilities and judgement are essential to those who fly in this beautiful land.

This is a book that I just can't keep paging through. It brings memories of airplanes I have known and the people who fly them. It is a book that will stick around my home for quite a while.