The Granite Avatars of Patagonia
Text and Photographs by Tom Reed
Foreword by Dr. Shozo Sato, Professor Emeritus of Japanese Aesthetics, University of Illinois, Urbana
This exceptional book documents three seasons of adventure—hiking, camping, backpacking and photographing in the Patagonian Andes. Author/photographer Reed spent significant parts of 2006 through 2008 exploring around El Chaltén, the Argentine village closest to the magnificent granite spires of Patagonia. The book primarily documents Reed's explorations to get as close as possible to two legendary 3000-meter peaks, Cerro Torre and El Chaltén, also know as Mount Fitz Roy after the captain of Darwin's ship, The Beagle.
Reed has created a unique book that successfully and powerfully evokes some of the world's most spectacular and awe-inspiring sights. Reed's large format black and white art photographs, powerfully composed, provide the focal point for the book, drawing the reader in with their breathtaking power. The text appears on facing pages with small color photographs inset, allowing the reader to be further drawn into the book by the splashes of color and the clear large font text that displays Reed's personable reminiscences of his explorations and the multitude of thoughts they arose.
Reed's book crosses many genres, appealing to a wide range of people, from world-class climbers, avid explorers, world-trekkers and backpackers to fans of art and photography, ecotheologians and folks who just love nature. The book has a cross-cultural, Pacific rim quality thanks to its South American subject matter, a strong Japanese influence in Reed's photographic composition and book design, and his history exploring extensively in both Alaska and California. Reed uses a red stamp, or "chop," not only to identify the artist, but as a finishing touch to the composition in the tradition of Asian black ink painting. All these factors combine to make a gorgeous book that anyone, or any store, should be glad to share.
“Despite its borderline pantheism Tom Reed's The Granite Avatars of Patagonia offers a powerful and moving description of one of the world's most awesome sights: the granite towers of Patagonia, notably Cerro Torre and El Chaltén. Mindful of global warming, deforestation, species extinction, and pollution, the narrative nevertheless manages, in inimitably beautiful English, to focus on the awesomeness, beauty, intimacy, and sacredness of nature in one of its most dramatic moments.”
“Tom Reed uses his experience in both Japanese calligraphy and sumi-e for the creative energy in his photographic images. With patience and sharp awareness of the subject matter, he has stepped beyond ordinary landscape photographs, and created extraordinary ones.”
“I have often gone to Tom's website for inspiration and enjoyment. His work is powerful and clean. This book reveals his intimate relationship with the granite spires of Patagonia, and his choice of black and white capture provides a unique perspective. I hope one day I can be shooting at his side in places of such awesome beauty.”
“Patagonia has a keen, close observer in Tom Reed. His feeling for the landscape and its wild power comes through in his photos and writing and in the questions he raises about ourselves as natural beings acting in a natural world.”
96 pages, 10" x 12", hardcover with color dust-jacket, 42 8" x 10" black and white photographs, 96 small color photographs, printed on art matte paper, 30,000-word text, index to the photographs. Published by Wild Coast Media.
While supplies last, each order for The Granite Avatars of Patagonia gets a copy of this powerful 18" x 23" poster.
Wholesale customers must specifically request the poster when they order the book.
Inside Front Flap:
“Even a cursory glance through this book you're holding will reveal the uniqueness of its author's approach to travel literature. Sophisticated black and white images alternate with Reed's description of the adventures that made those images possible, photos and text nestled in a clean, Zen-like, high concept design. His writing persona hovers somewhere between ecospiritualist and son of the Beat generation, with an occasional nod to Hemingway.
This is Tom Reed's debut performance in publishing but certainly not his last. He is a born traveler and a writer's writer, and one who gives confident vent to a stream-of-consciousness style because he trusts his own voice to speak his own truth. His audience—from world-class climbers to armchair travelers—will listen, enjoy, and be moved to think more deeply about how and why they, too, are awed by nature's wonders.
Almost inevitably, Reed's contemplation of these granite wonders (in Argentina's Parque Nacional Los Glaciares) leads him to view them as avatars, messengers of an intelligent and evolving universe, here to guide us toward the realization that nature, the universe itself, is divine—a provocative proposition to be sure. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, Reed's explorations of both inner and outer landscapes will cling to the corners of your consciousness. You might never again look at a breathtaking landscape without recalling Reed's lens, his sensibilities, and his definition of 'awe.' ”
—Irene D. Thomas Ph.D. , author of Olaf Palm, A Life in Art
“Your book is stunning. The photos look way different than they do on your website, more succinct, more powerful. . . I was truly surprised at how much more impact they have on the page than on my monitor. I can only imagine what it must have been like to be in the presence of those peaks. Well, actually, I don't have to imagine, because you do a pretty damn good job of conveying it.
You did a great job of laying out the book... I love those little color photos on the left-hand pages; they enliven the whole book in a way I wasn't expecting. They give it this juicy quality that is the perfect counterpoint to the drama on the facing pages.
The writing is so rich, in the way that you are able to pack an enormous amount into a single paragraph. My god, you think a lot, don't you??? And you feel a lot. And you experience things on a level that most people don't even know exists. I think you did a fantastic job.”
- Sarah, Rhode Island
I just received your book, The Granite Avatars of Patagonia, as a wonderful gift from my cousin and wanted to thank you for putting together such a wonderful compilation of images and words from this magical place.
- Rochelle, California
“The book is gorgeous and spectacular! ”
“I received your book. The first thing that I did was to look at all the photographs and then... I started to cry! Then, I started to read. I am only on page 60 and I am enjoying every word! You write beautifully.”
- Chris, California
“I'm looking forward to reading the complete text of your book, which so far has been warmly enveloping.”
- Henry, Florida
“From my brother Thomas Berry I bring thanks for and appreciation of the priceless Granite Avatars of Patagonia. With text vying for photography in beauty, wonder, mystery, even evocation of divinity, this is a book for the ages, and credit is due you for your vision, courage, and persistence in a journey that must have had its ordeals. Thomas thanks you for the gift of this book and wishes all success critical reception and in rewards that usually accompany such a first class achievement.”
- Margaret, North Carolina
“Just finished the book last night after two late night sessions of reading and viewing. Great work, Tom. I felt as though I was walking with you.”
- Hugh, California
“The books just came yesterday. I would have trouble expressing how truly beautiful this book is. Thank you.”
- Mike, Massachusetts
“There are very amazing photos and all of them are beautiful!!! I felt very calm and powerful nature energy from these. I enjoyed very much and keep your book in whole life.”
- Yasuhiro, Japan
“The books have arrived. Congratulations, it is excellent. I can't wait to gift them to friends on special occasions. I think that, due to your adventures and your studies, you have developed a deep introspection of the world and its beauty. Your appreciation of nature and its creatures comes thru loud and clear.”
- Kevin, Virginia
“Your book is absolutely magnificent! Thank you for your art and insight!”
- Pat, California
“I think the book turned out beautifully. The surprise joy is the little color pictures inset in the text that work so well. That's one part which really enhances the book... a bit of spice on the starch of the text pages... which I don't mean to imply are lacking. I enjoyed the conversational style of your writing, and how great depth is folded with discipline into nearly every observation.”
- Asia, Alaska
“I finally got an afternoon to read your book from cover to cover. Awesome! I thoroughly enjoyed it—with just a tad of envy... I was able to be there through you, looking up until my neck hurt, drinking until midnight with los Argentinos, getting annoyed at el polaco loco.”
- Chad, California
“The book is so wonderful, Tom . . . and not just the photos. I think the final pages are glorious!”
- Katia, California
“The book is incredible—absolutely stunning. Extraordinarily well done.”
- Beth, California
“The book came a couple of days ago, and I really enjoy it. It is a beautiful book. I have sat down with it many times, and relish it like a fine wine.”
- G. Brad Lewis, Hawaii
“Just got your book in the mail and it's GORGEOUS! The photos are even more stunning than online. I read the first few pages and can't wait to read the rest this week. I really enjoy your voice.”
“Congratulations on the beautiful book. It's even better, more elegant and compelling than I imagined. Please send me two more.”
- Karla , Alaska
“What an incredible book!”
- Wayne, Alaska
“I got the book. Amazing, extraordinary, hard-to-believe beautiful pictures, terrific print quality! And I really like the chops.”
- Margaret, Virginia
“I like the cover and the content very much. It is esthetically very appealing, and the photos are just AWESOME ! I do relate to the spiritual impact that nature can give you thru shear appreciation. It leaves you almost speechless except for an 'Oh my God!' expression.”
“The book, the adventures, the photographs are extraordinary and exquisite. I love the whole journey. I'd read a bit and then savor it all in my imagination for a while, living an experience in a place I may never physically be. And I love the chops and thinking of the placement as part of the composition.”
“I just received your book! I love it! The photos are amazing, and what a nice quality! It's amazing and I am proud to have one of first edition!”
- Tyra, British Columbia
“When the book arrived in my store, it was immediately passed from hand to hand among the staff, who were impressed with the breathtaking images and beautiful design. It is, quite simply, a gorgeous book. Throw out any preconceived notion of what a self-published book looks like, because this one is a marvel.”
- Christie Olson Day, owner, Gallery Bookshop, Mendocino
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