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Around the Bend: A Mississippi River Adventure

Around the Bend: A Mississippi River Adventure

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 schoolchildren, this "High Tech Huck Finn" trained his lens on spectacular scenes, creating images that vividly depict the life pulsing in and near this vital American 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: a ghostly foggy morning on the bank; a bright orange sunset over the bends; a quiet snowfall at the headwaters; a sudden rain shower at dusk. He also offers intimate images of the creatures that make their home in the river or along its shores: a whitetail fawn nestled in underbrush; a curious frog peeking out from beneath reeds; a Canada goose marching in line with her goslings; turtles burying themselves in mud. His depiction of the natural beauty of Old Man River is unparalleled.

The river comes to appear as a thriving community because Lockwood introduces the people, both ordinary and extraordinary, who live and journey on it. We meet, among others, a performance artist intent on swimming the river's length; inhabitants of a makeshift houseboat colony near Winona, Minnesota; Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher look-alikes in Hannibal, Missouri; 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 businesses and industries that line the river's banks: casino river boats glittering in the night; the jumping blues clubs of Memphis' Beale Street; bustling industrial plants and the countless barges and push boats that service them. He also offers a detailed memoir of his trip, as well as 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."

0807123129 (9780807123126)
Publication Date: 
November 1, 1998

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