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Excelling at Chess
Jacob Aagaard
The Art and Craft of Feature Writing: Based on The Wall Street Journal Guide
William E. Blundell

Upstream: Fly Fishing in the American West

Upstream: Fly-Fishing in the American West - Charles Lindsay I largely avoid fly fishing coffee table books. The problem? Fly fishing picture books typically attain a kind of artificial beauty, and do so at the expense of spontaneity, realism or soul.Images are carefully arranged, styled and colored - to the point I’m witnessing the product of an advertising shoot instead of a real moment on the water.This book avoids those problems. Want the one-word review? Stunning.Lindsay’s black and white photographs bypass all the pretty-yet-distant cliches, displaying in their stead strong, reductive images where the elements of nature (water, air, fire, bugs, trout, etc) are dynamic - not fodder for a carefully arranged still life.Through Lindsay’s lens, water becomes elemental and kinetic, with the surface boundary between air and stream displaying elements of both.Trout ebb and flow through his photographs like elements of nature instead of targets, defined not by flashy parr marks or marketable colors, but revealed instead by a quiet swirl in the water or a taut piece of monofilament.McGuane’s text is smart and cutting as ever, his status as keen observer of the natural world seemingly amplified by the B&W photographs.Indeed, viewing McGuane’s text and Lindsay’s photographs in the same context exposes one of the book's weaknesses - the images and words aren’t mixed together on the same pages, but are separated.Many of Lindsay’s images would have piled meaning atop McGuane’s text (and vice versa), but instead, McGuane’s incisive words were left to fend for themselves, including the following passage - which would have soared off the page in the company of the right images.