Northern Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is a big place with big oil reserves. And now it has a big photographic book that explores the collision of conservation and development there — a book that has created quite a stir in Washington, D.C.
Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land, A Photographic Journey, is by
Subhankar Banerjee, a former physicist at New Mexico’s Los
Alamos National Laboratories. With his photographic debut, the
34-year-old Seattle resident bit deeply into ripe terrain at
precisely the right moment. Oil drilling in the refuge is a
centerpiece of the Bush administration’s energy plan, and
Banerjee’s photographs have provided ammunition to drilling
opponents, such as former president Jimmy Carter, wildlife
biologist George B. Schaller and writers Peter Mathiessen and Terry
Tempest Williams, all of whom contributed essays to the
Among the glut of photographic books with the "love
and protect this beautiful place" message, this one boasts more
than the essential, albeit predictable, images of charismatic
megafauna and wild vistas. The book gives the lie to the pro-oil
political pundits who have depicted ANWR as a white
Apparently, the book’s message is too
powerful for some: The Smithsonian’s National Museum of
Natural History moved an exhibit of Banerjee’s photos,
originally planned for the main floor rotunda, to a room on a lower
level. Banerjee claims the museum was pressured to bump the exhibit
by pro-oil interests in Congress, who recently lost a vote in the
Senate which would have allowed drilling in ANWR (HCN, 4/14/03:
Grassroots prevail in ANWR and Wyoming).
Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land
The Mountaineers Books, Seattle, WA, 2003
176 pages, Softcover, $22.95
A book big enough to make waves
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