When I previewed this book in April, it was with the hope that a Kickstarter campaign would result in a bargain priced offset printed version. Ara had turned to the crowd funding site to facilitate pre-ordering the book in support of a cost saving bulk order. As noted in a mid-May update to the preview, the campaign failed resulting in the price of a hard copy more than doubling from $40.00 to $92.99. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it is beautiful.
For those unfamiliar with Ara and Spirit, here’s a quick introduction. In 2006, following the death of his son, Ara Gureghian left his job as a personal chef and, accompanied by a rescued pit bull named Spirit, hit the road on Old Faithful, his BMW motorcycle. Since then, they have crisscrossed the country and spent lots of time in some of its emptier areas. Freedom on Both Ends of the Leash tells the story of those travels. Hues of my Vision contains a selection of the many photographs taken along the way.
There are 61 photographs; Each on its own page accompanied by a quote and a map. The maps mark the location and direction of the photo. The quotes are some that Ara has personally found meaningful. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Kahlil Gibran, John Muir, and Dan Aykroyd are among those quoted. Most of the quotes are unique but, whether by accident or design, a few are repeated. The paper is high quality and the pages are large. It’s a real coffee table book from a man and dog who haven’t had a coffee table in quite some time.
Not surprisingly, many of the photos are of America’s open spaces. Ara has visited and camped in some rather isolated spots and has captured some of their beauty. Canyons, lakes, and improbable shapes carved by wind and water are masterfully recorded and there are many gorgeous sunsets. A quote from Jo Walton really resonated with me:
There is a Sunrise and a Sunset every single day, and they are absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.
Ara hasn’t missed too many during the last nine years and I’d like to think that I’ll not be missing so many from here on out.
Landscapes are in the majority but people and buildings appear, too. Some of those landscapes make marvelous backgrounds for photos of Spirit, Old Faithful, and even Ara himself. Subjects also include other people and animals and an occasional building. In these pictures, Ara has skillfully and artfully recorded the world he has been immersed in for nearly a decade. It’s largely a natural world that most of us only catch short glimpses of from time to time. He continues to report on that world through his blog, The Oasis of my Soul.
The book is available in electronic form for about $20. Is the hard copy worth the more than $70 premium?.I thought it was and am quite happy that I have the “real book” to hold in my hands. However, with the exception of size, I believe that everything I’ve said about the print version applies to the electronic versions as well. They might be just the thing for those without a coffee table. All formats are available here.
Hues of my Vision, Ara Gureghian and Spirit, Ara Gureghian (May, 2015), hard cover, 13 x 10 inches, 62 pages