[by Teresa] We’ve decided to cut Hollywood from our Yukon book – she’s a magnificent old Coast Mountains grizzly celebrated for her cub-rearing success. Sometimes the emotion embedded in an image overshadows its photographic merits. In this case, I sat quietly with my daughters over several days watching Hollywood with her cubs, and whenever I view this image it evokes my empathy and memories of relating to her mama to mama. We have a surplus of great bear shots in a book that distills a decade of northern photography, so we must be ruthless. Hollywood’s portrait is lovely and it shows her gentle character, but we see no cubs or behaviour and little sense of the place that defines her family and habitat. I may see a sweet, selfless, hard-working mother, but the composition doesn’t hold up against photos of bears feeding or fighting or exploring their environment.
You’d think we’d be able to quickly put together this book, but as our colleague @OutcropJay likes to say, it’s an iterative process, which really means we keep revisiting and rehashing the edit until we get it right. As National Geographic photographer Sam Abell told us: “the book of assembly is the rare book, and the most delight for readers. It’s also more challenging for the creator—a project that requires significantly more thought, more effort. Assembling a book is a thoughtful, deliberate process—often undervalued and hastily done by most book publishers.” As we make these tough calls, we’re trying to take those words to heart.