This book is well named. Those of us who have fallen in love with cruising the coast of British Columbia are in awe of its wild beauty. We boaters skirt the headlands, explore the inlets, and sometimes prowl a short ways up one of the great river systems. This book shows mariners how much more grandeur awaits in the interior. So much more, that perhaps we should let our boats rest easy in their slips for a while and go explore a portion of the interior.
Al Harvey is a remarkably talented photographer, and it is his images that will draw people to this book. The book is organized into three major sections: Mountains, Rivers, and Shorelines. There is an introductory four-page Overview which helps orient the reader to the geography, peoples, and history of British Columbia. This overall organization works well. Starting with “Mountains” allows Al Harvey to lead off with some of his most stunning images. It is the glaciers and snowfields of the mountain ranges that give rise to the rivers, which in turn take one down to the shoreline.
Each of the major sections includes its own short introduction that highlights key features. Intermixed among the photographs of the section is informative, descriptive text. This material can help readers plan an exploratory trip to a region that particularly appeals to them.
Al Harvey has spent much of his life exploring BC: backpacking through the mountain ranges, rafting the rivers, and sea-kayaking along the shorelines. Most of the photographs selected for this book originated during those outings. In addition, he has included images captured from the air. His love of this country shows clearly in this work. It will appeal to anyone with an interest in the “wild beauty” of wilderness areas in general, and of British Columbia in particular.
Wild Beauty: A Visual Exploration of BC by Al Harvey (Heritage House, 2009; 128 pages)