Part three contains short essays on each of the photographs in parts one and two, providing rather eclectic snippets of background information. While I found some of these really intriguing — an account of the controversy surrounding Peary's claim to have reached the North Pole, for example, or of the 1989 Bahia Paraiso wreck and the resulting oil spill — most were disappointing, with Rowell devoting more space to how he came to take the photograph than to its subject. Photographers and artists will appreciate these more, however, as he goes into some detail about the composition of and technical parameters for each shot. The only other failing of Poles Apart was highlighted for me by its overall success — the photos and commentary succeeded in arousing my interest in several topics to such an extent that I would have liked some pointers to other sources, if only a few references in the essays or a couple of pages of suggested readings at the end.
I'm sure there are people who wouldn't derive any pleasure from Poles Apart, but I have trouble visualising them. Rowell's work really should have near-universal appeal.
- External links:
- buy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
- details at University of California Press
- Related reviews:
- books about the Arctic
- more photography
- books published by University of California Press