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  Bookends: Dan Davidson

Grand Landscapes of Canada

Reviewed: November 22, 2005
By: J. A. Kraulis
Publisher: Firefly Books
224 pages, $49.85

After a quarter century of photography, J. A. Kraulis feels that he has managed to capture a definitive collection of Canadian landscape photography. Grand Landscapes of Canada is an impressive way to advance that claim.

The more than 200 photos in the book include 16 from the Yukon, and concentrate on landscapes with almost no sign of human intrusion. Waterfalls, lakes, seashores, clouds, forests and mountains are his main subjects, with the exception of a few cultivated fields. There are some photos which show the results of human activity on farmland - patterns of planting and harvesting, for instance - but thatís about as close to people as he gets.

What I notice most about Kraulisí pictures is the incredible sense of depth they have. This seems to be the result of a high horizon line sandwiched between the landscape and some kind of cloud activity.

In his introduction he indicates that he has a fascination with lighting effects and with moments in nature, rather than with the recording of actual famous places.

ďAnd for this reason, even if you stood in the exact same spot where I took these photographs, you are unlikely to ever see what is recorded in them.Ē

I would think this would be especially true of his work on waterfalls, where he seems to favour long exposures that make the falls look like continuous shimmering curtains.

This is an impressive coffee table book, one in which the pictures need more than one look to be appreciated.

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