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Milne, Brian.

Toronto, Collins, c1986. 208pp. cloth, $39.95, ISBN 0-00-217652-1. CIP

Grades 9 and up
Reviewed by Mary Fallis

Volume 15 Number 2
1987 March

Do we need another photographic survey of the Canadian scene along the Trans-Canada highway? The photographer himself almost turned down the assignment. "What was there to be said about a black ribbon of asphalt that runs for 7,750 kilometres from Canada's east coast to Vancouver Island?" There was some serious consideration of the project and the working out of a purpose: "We wanted to end up with more than just a scenic tour of the obvious."

The "we" included Brian Milne, an expert photographer known for his work for such magazines as National Geographic and Equinox. His companion/ assistant on the eighteen-month project was Dawn Goss, who acted as coordinator and record keeper. The introduction is the work of R.D. Lawrence, author of books on wildlife and ecology.

There are about seventeen pages of commentary on the project, taken province by province. There was much to learn about construction of sections of the road and there is much interesting information about various parts of the country, the geological problems faced (why should it take until 1962 to complete the road from coast to coast?), and some history, always from the viewpoint of the people living in the area under scrutiny.

So the photographs are not just a sequence of planned studies of the views pointed out to tourists, Milne has produced a photographic study that has some depth. Many of the studies of scenes and people arc full of details that show the living conditions of individuals in the society. In the photographs he has usually left these details muted so they can speak for themselves. All this has been done by a superb photographer, a master of composition, texture, light, and communication. 1 think of the picture of a man changing a tire on a logging truck in Newfoundland and the scene at Mile 0 at the end of the highway on Vancouver Island, with no sign of the highway markers most tourists would take for their picture, but a huge panorama of shoreline, sea. mountains, and sky, in peaceful evening light.

This book would be very stimulating for discussion in photography courses and photography clubs as well as in personal library collections.

Mary Fallis, Prince George, B.C.
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