In the summer of 1997, renowned nature photographer C.C. Lockwood embarked on a remarkable adventure. First by canoe and then by Grand Canyon–style pontoon raft, he journeyed the length of the Mississippi River — 2,320 miles — from its source at Lake Itasca, Minnesota, to its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico. Armed with his camera and computer equipment to transmit stories and pictures to school children, this high-tech Huck Finn trained his lens on spectacular scenes, creating images that vividly depict the life pulsing in and near this vital artery — water and lands that touch the lives of every American.
As Lockwood shows in these brilliant color photographs, the river has many faces. At its birthplace it is nothing more than a trickle among rocks. But as it serpentines south, it slowly grows until, at its end, it pours daily over 420 billion gallons of water into the Gulf of Mexico. Lockwood captures the river in all of its moods and offers intimate images of the creatures that make their home in the river or along its shores. His depiction of the natural beauty of Old Man River is unparalleled.
Lockwood also introduces the people, both ordinary and extraordinary, that together make the river a thriving community. We meet, among others, a performance artist intent on swimming the river’s length; inhabitants of a makeshift houseboat colony near Winona, Minnesota; and Willie P., who, with the help of thirty-gallon plastic barrels and paddle wheels, employs a most unusual mode of river transportation — a Toyota Celica hatchback. To illustrate the changing riverscape, Lockwood includes images of some of the many businesses and industries that line the river’s banks. He also provides a detailed memoir of his trip — as well as of his other tours of the river by plane, car, tugboat, and river boat — in a delightful introduction.
Lockwood’s photographs depict beautifully the varied aspects of the Mississippi River — flourishing community, vital industrial corridor, and priceless environmental treasure. Through this book, readers can join him on his quest to discover the wonders that lie just “around the bend.”
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