One of the better North Shore photography books I've seen in a long time is also very hard to get. Maybe that's the marketing strategy: demand is driven by scarcity.
Layne Kennedy's 2009 book, 47° North: Grand Marais and Beyond, features photographs of the Grand Marais area. Unlike most North Shore photography books, this one features more people than scenery. And Grand Marais has some wonderfully scenic events. Like the dragon boat festival and the summer solstice celebration, both captured lovingly here.
North Shore residents can be quirky, and this book captures that. Where else would a woman have a photo of her and her fish catch on her tombstone? Or would teenagers line up to jump into bone-chilling Lake Superior on the breakwall?
I'm not a photographer or a photo critic. But I can say that the photos do a great job capturing the spirit and beauty of the wild northern half of the Minnesota North Shore. Occasional quotes from real photographers and critics broaden Kennedy's message.
Here's the kicker: this book is not available in the stores, as far as I've ever seen. I picked up my copy at the Duluth Public Library (Call number 917.763 K384f). It is also available through Blurb.com . So if you want this book, you need to work a bit to get it.
I have one small bone to pick. 47° North is supposed to refer to the latitude of Grand Marais. Turns out 47 degrees north latitude is just about exactly Two Harbors. But who would title a book 47° 45' North ? I'm just hoping Mr. Kennedy comes out with a sequel featuring equally scenic, almost-as-funky Two Harbors.