Many people have photographed the Grand Canyon, but in The Hidden Canyon: A River Journey, photographer John Blaustein shows readers an entirely different yet equally spectacular Grand Canyon than they've seen in previous pictures.
Readers float down the Colorado River as they see the famous canyon, reading journal entries from Edward Abbey and viewing Blaustein's companion photographs. While Abbey's writings are definitely overshadowed by the stunning photographs, he provides an account that is rather adventurous. Anyone thinking of rafting or canoeing down the river will get an accurate assessment of the toils and excitement that come with this trip. And it is not without descriptive language:
"You can walk for only a mile or so till you come to an impassable waterfall dry now fifty feet high. Below is a small clear pool, evaporating. The silence here, away from the river and the people, is intense. The clash of stone against stone, in the dry air, is harsh, brittle, without resonance or echo. A silence almost supernatural that reminds me of the oppressive stillness in the final scenes of Kubrick's 2001. I can hear the blood singing in my ears. The sky above, beyond the crooked canyon rim, is a pale metallic blue. Storm coming."
The story of Abbey, with his constant comparisons to Major John Wesley Powell's 19th-century diary and amusing anecdotes depicting a vacation on the Colorado River, is worth reading. Yet time and again, the eye is drawn not to the rich text but to the glossy photographs of the crisp, frosted-looking rivermeanderingthrough the dark and rugged canyon, the muddy waters splashing onto the people braving the rapids of the Colorado, and the azure sky and golden wall of the canyon reflecting in the river as it flows over shallow rocks. Each photograph is explained thoroughly, so you understand the history of each place depicted in Hidden Canyon.
With Abbey's text and Blaustein's photographs, each page of Hidden Canyon is its own adventure. And it does what every successful travel book can only hope to do take its readers to the place in question each time they open the pages, even if they've never been there before.
Visually stunning as is evident in these excerpted photographs Hidden Canyon is a book that won't just sit on your bookshelf collecting dust.