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Mike Beedell.

Toronto, Oxford University Press, c1983.
unpaged, cloth, $24.95.
ISBN 0-19-540317-7.

Grades 9 and up.
Reviewed by Robin Lewis.

Volume 12 Number 3
1984 May

Magnificent! A comparison with a similar book of northern photographs shows Beedell’s extraordinary talent. His musk-oxen have a palpable softness to their fur. Sharp snow crystals encrust their noses. Massive heads are down, lethal horns extended, and suspicion glistens in each dark eye.

Beedell’s photos often show rare scenes, subjects, or perspectives. The brilliant yellow blast of an oil flare, the soft russet of old timbers, and nature's forceful blacks and whites grace a book as beautiful as Caliban's dream.

Each picture has its own page and an explanatory, numbered, caption. Native people, settlements, wildlife, and physiography are shown.

This professional photographer knows all the tricks. But his work seems natural, his colours true. His unique attribute seems to be the ability to show his subject realistically, yet evoke an emotional response. A few familiar scenes make me want to exclaim boyishly, "I've been there! It's just like that!" I too have photographed the George River caribou. But my tourist shots seem pathetic compared to Beedell's work.

My copy of this text had a couple of production blemishes. Even so, the quality of the printing is superb.

For pictures of Inuit involved in traditional and modern activities or as a travelogue centered on the Magnetic North (as the map shows), this book is unsurpassable. Anyone would enjoy it.

The final picture, on the summit of Mount Logan, shows Beedell's physical prowess; the ebullient self-portrait on the rear cover shows his spirit. What a pleasure to share his perceptions!

Robin Lewis, Riverdale H. S., Pierrefonds, QB.
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