Our Wisconsin River - Border to Border

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9780965508100: Our Wisconsin River - Border to Border
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Our Wisconsin River: Border to Border captures the magic of "America's hardest working river". For the past year photographer Nels Akerlund has been combing the banks of this 427 mile liquid highway by car, foot and kayak to capture the beauty of the waterway the Algonquin Indians called "Wees-Konsan", or the gathering of the waters. Akerlund's stunning color photographs are complemented by the historic black & white images to give readers a complete view of this diverse river. The text of the 112 page book by Joe Glickman explores the often tragic and humorous tales of the Indians, missionaries, explorers, lumberjacks, and the assorted collection of eccentrics that inhabited it's banks. In addition, there is the adventurous story of Akerlund, Glickman, and Nel's father Dan, who spent two weeks during the summer of '96 braving the flooded waters, headwinds, and storms, as they portaged their heavily loaded kayaks around the 26 dams that interrupt the river from it's source at Lac Vieux Desert to the mouth at the Mississippi River.

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About the Author:

Joe Glickman, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, is a 37-year-old freelance writer. His text has appeared in the New York Times, The Daily News, Newsday, The Village Voice, Outside, Men's Journal, Inside Sports, Adventure Cyclist, Runner's World, US, EcoTraveler, The Paddler, Sea Kayaker, Women's Sports & Fitness, and Brooklyn Bridge. He co-wrote (with Allen Barra) That's Not the Way It Was, a book about myths in sports. He is currently writing a book about his 107-day, 3,600-mile solo kayak trip from Montana to New York. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife Beth and daughter Willa.

Nels Akerlund's first foray into photography was an inauspicious one. At the age of two he was visiting his uncle, who had recently returned from Vietnam. The curious youngster ransacked his camera bag and exposed all his film. A 1992 graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology, Akerlund, 26, has photographed Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, and F.W. de Klerk. His work has appeared in two books on Rockford architect Jesse Barloga, and in One Day U.S.A. His last book Our Rock River was published in 1995. Akerlund's love of photography and the outdoors has taken him all over the world, including a month-long hitchhiking trip from Seattle to the Arctic Ocean in Alaska, to church missions in Mexico and Columbia, and to concentration camps in Poland and Germany. The youngest man to kayak the entire 2,500-mile Mississippi River, he also completed the 1,000-mile Chicago-to-New York paddle marathon, the world's longest. Currently, he is working on To the Top, a photography book on the highest peaks in each of the 50 States. He lives in Rockford, Illinois with his wife Andrea and dog Champ.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Nels and Joe stood on an unnamed island that splits the river near Rhinelander. The right fork flows quietly over well-worn rocks; the left drops precipitously through a narrow shoot known as Whirlpool Rapids. Nels was there again to photograph the surging whitewater that has swallowed many a logger. They sat for a while watching the river churn past huge boulders. Brilliant sunlight highlighted the vivid fall colors. Leaves rustling in the wind complimented the sound of rushing water. Two bald eagles soared overhead. They were thrilled and privileged to be in such a perfect place, but Nels was unsettled. "I hope I can capture this," he said. "I want people to feel the beauty." After a long pause he said, "I want my photographs to influence them." The latter, of course, is a tall order, inspired in part by the momentary intoxication of the scene. While it may be impossible for a two-dimensional medium to convey the complexity of a three-dimensional landscape, it is worth noting that this is the type of inspiration rivers like the Wisconsin have given them, and, more importantly, it is this spirit in which Nels' photographs were taken.

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Nels Akerlund, Joe Glickman
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