cover image The Place No One Knew: Glen Canyon on the Colorado

The Place No One Knew: Glen Canyon on the Colorado

Eliot Porter. Peregrine Smith Books, $45 (184pp) ISBN 978-0-87905-249-2

This is a 25th anniversary edition, revised and updated, of master nature photographer Porter's 1963 paean to a unique natural wonder of compressed geology and atmospheric caprice now long since extinguished by a power-project dam. The work still excites as both camera art and a spur to wilderness preservation. Light, shadow and tinted hue play changes on the canyon's walls, rifts and waters in Porter's color plates, here accompanied by quotations from Thoreau, Loren Eiseley, Owen Wister, Wallace Stegner and others. The assemblage of ""carved walls, royal arches, glens, alcove gulches, mounds and monuments'' that Porter calls ``the Colorado's masterwork'' was discovered by John Wesley Powell in 1869. Porter mourns a vanished river passage that ``mirrors pink rocks and cerulean sky'' and in whose narrow chasms ``streams of melted gems flow over purple sands.'' Though imperceptible in its original state, Glen Canyon on these picture-pages persists and is fittingly commemorated. (February 15)