Grand Landscapes of Canada -- Les Grands Paysages du Canada

Hardcover | October 1, 2005

byJ. Kraulis

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A superb portfolio of pictures by one of Canada's greatest photographers.

Canada's landscape is like no other. Its sheer diversity is staggering: vast prairies and forests, impressive coastlines, majestic inland lakes and rivers, and urban parklands. Each season adds its own dimension of beauty.

As much as it reveals the geography of a country, landscape photography also documents the random events, whether fleeting or grand, that capture the essence of a country.

This magnificent collection spans 20 years of the work of Canada's renowned landscape photographer, J.A. Kraulis: a flash of lightning exploding across a summer sky; a sudden winter storm descending on an otherwise tranquil coastal bay; the surface of a lake, caught in a moment of stillness, mirroring the world around it.

These 200 handsome color photographs record the vast and beautiful Canadian landscape. They tell the tale not only of a country, but also of the photographer's inspiring relationship with it.

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From the Publisher

A superb portfolio of pictures by one of Canada's greatest photographers. Canada's landscape is like no other. Its sheer diversity is staggering: vast prairies and forests, impressive coastlines, majestic inland lakes and rivers, and urban parklands. Each season adds its own dimension of beauty. As much as it reveals the geogra...

J.A. Kraulis, among Canada's most prolific and talented photographers, was raised in Montreal, where he earned degrees in science and architecture at McGill University. His work appears in magazines such as Audubon, Canadian Geographic and Equinox. He has been the principal photographer of many books, including Canada from the Air ...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 12.25 × 11.88 × 0.88 inPublished:October 1, 2005Publisher:Firefly BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1554070368

ISBN - 13:9781554070367

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Read from the Book

Introduction The photography in this book was conceived some four decades ago in the dark bedroom of a modest bungalow in suburban Montreal. It was there, at about the age of fourteen, that I spent many evenings dumbfounded, gazing at huge, soaring mountains. My sister had returned from a summer job at Lake Louise with several boxes of colour slides from her mountain hikes. With only the whir of the projector fan intruding on my reverie, I couldn't get enough of the scenery shining on the wall, nor of the wistful fantasy that someday I too would walk those trails in the Rockies. This was my first experience of the power of photography. Mountains had been transported to my bedroom. Or I had been transported to the mountains; no distinction need be made there. I was inevitably pulled west, first to the wonders of Jasper, Banff, Kootenay, and Yoho. Four summers spent working in Yoho -- where a chance meeting led to my eventual marriage -- bonded me heart and soul to the Canadian Rockies forever. On the Trans-Canada leaving Calgary, there is a hill that still sends shivers up my spine, and sometimes even provokes a tear, every time I crest it. At the sight of the dramatically serrate horizon, eighty kilometres away, Gordon Lightfoot's lyrics always come to mind: "Wild majestic mountains alone against the sun." My westward momentum took me to the wild coast of Vancouver Island, another kind of unspoiled paradise. In those days, a dirt logging road was the only land route to Tofino, where the young and free-spirited took up summer residence on broad Pacific beaches, sheltered beneath driftwood and plastic tarp. Soon I ventured further still, to Yukon's St. Elias Mountains, the highest range in the country, and arguably the most spectacular landscape on the planet. Nowhere else are such high summits wrapped with such grand ice fields and glaciers. It was here, bundled in a down jacket and tied to a triple-checked safety rope, that I took my first photo flight inside a single-engine aircraft, its door off to the wide, empty air. The vista blowing by was vast and towering, with chaotic, crevassed plains and slopes of white; and, compared to anything in my previous experience, simply unbelievable. That flight was my second epiphany, after my sister's slides, for it led directly to the idea of photographing Canada from the air, and a long series of flights over several years with my friend Bo Curtis. And so the most rugged place on earth sent me to just about the flattest, to discover what I had earlier missed and dismissed. The Prairies had once been a mere distance to overcome as I journeyed to the high and mighty west. But from above, they presented an endless canvas, mesmerizing in pattern and rich in variegated colour. I realized that on the ground, I had in effect been looking along the surface of a painting that could only be properly appreciated from above. Along with Prince Edward Island, the flat Prairies became, photographically, the most interesting landscape of all. Photography is about discovery. Photographs best engage us when we see something in them we haven't seen before. This is true for those taking the pictures as well as those viewing them, and so the camera has been for me a means of exploring the country, with cars, canoes, skis, bikes and walking boots my secondary accessories. It's an ongoing process. The most exciting part of it is that the more I learn about Canada, the more I realize how little of it I actually know. Every trip uncovers new surprises. As I immersed myself in Atlantic Canada, I preferred to photograph Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, as my New Brunswick pictures never seemed as good. Just recently, however, this bias reversed like the tides. A point on the map named Cape Enrage led me to remarkable sections of the Bay of Fundy coast that I had no idea existed. Who needs mountains when one can watch an ocean moved by the moon, in settings like that? The most magnificent landscapes are all not always well known. In British Columbia, the West coast Trail on Vancouver Island is world famous, but an equally great hike is the little known Nootka Trail further north, or the very different Coastal Trail in Pukaskwa National Park. And it was thrilling for me, in late summer of 2004, to gaze at the huge Salmon Glacier. It is probably the largest road-accessible glacier in the world, and I had never before even heard of it. But there is no picture of the Salmon Glacier in this book, nor of some of the other impressive places I have been fortunate to visit. For this is not a collection of places but rather one of circumstances; a landscape photograph is less about a location than about an event. That is obvious when the subject is lightning, a sunset, a rainbow, or an exploding wave, but the event may be merely the photographer's discovery of a compelling scene as it composes itself: a pristine patch of alpine wildflowers with a perfect profile of distant peaks; a harmonious coincidence of shadow or reflection; the brief few seconds when the view from an airplane is in perfect alignment. Many of my landscape photographs show a place out of the ordinary, as it does not usually appear. And for this reason, even if you were to stand in the exact same spot where I took these photographs, you are unlikely to ever see what is recorded in them. Thus, when I first found myself in the places where my sister had taken her slides, nothing felt familiar. The surroundings, the different light, the amazing reality of it made the scene barely, if at all, recognizable. I have never abandoned the habit of looking at photographs and dreaming. Today, instead of the glow of an image projected on a wall, it is often the computer screen that works its magic, as an Internet image of some new place -- Sam Ford Fjord, for example -- leaves me slack-jawed in wonder. My own photographs prompt my memory. But, as I discovered long ago, those taken by others stimulate my imagination. JA. Kraulis Vancouver, May 2005

Editorial Reviews

The stunning result of 25 years of criss-crossing the country in search of the perfect photo... The juxtapositions are magical... Gorgeous!