Hoshino's Alaska

Michio Hoshino, Hoshino's Alaska, (San Francisco: Chronicle Books), 2007.

Hoshino's Alaska
One thing usually leads to another. At least that is the way it is with me and books. Reading Lynn Schooler's "The Blue Bear" led me on a journey of discovery of the exquisite photographs of Michio Hoshino. This book, published after his death is a wonderful collection. It also contains a few pages of short essays that give insight into the mind of the photographer.

Alaska is a gorgeous place but one gets used to the "stock" footage - the kind of images put out by the tourist bureau. Hashing captures something deeper - and more vast. While most wildlife photographers set up blinds and sit there with the longest lenses possible to capture up close and personal shots of wild animals, Hoshino captures the environment of the animals. Often his animals are rather small parts of a much bigger picture - they way that they appear in real life. It is as if he respects their space and presents something much more like the experience of being there than a typical photograph.

It's clear that Hoshino has the equipment and technique to take the close up shots, but the ways in which he chooses to capture images is unique - and shows the patience of one who spent many years in Alaska, not as a tourist, but rather as someone who lived there and captured the spirit of the place.

A truly remarkable book by a truly remarkable man. This one is worth setting out on the coffee table to return to again and again.