John H. Gryfe is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon practicing in
Following on the heels of his other volumes, on a variety of Canadian venues that stress his Maritime origins, photographer Sherman Hines has created a showcase of the rugged beauty and friendly hardiness that punctuate any description of this part of the Atlantic coast. Floating vessels, some calmly moored for their Sunday respite, others in a state of embryonic development as they rise from freshly-hewn timbers of the Labrador coastal forest, bespeak the importance of the bounties of the sea. A basketful of snow crab (changed from the less marketable name “spider crab”) entices the reader’s gustatory senses.
Introductory comments have been penned by another of Newfoundland’s native sons, Ray Guy. This freelance journalist, based in St. John’s, previously collaborated with Sherman Hines to create the similarly formatted Outhouses of the East. As with all effective collections of photographs, however, the written caption is redundant. For example, little is to be gained by identifying three fishermen and their recently landed sculpin, for no words can effectively convey the roguish smiles that light up this portrait. While the captions are numbered, the pictures that they identify are not, an oversight that makes it awkward to match attempts at pictures and words.
Variability comes as a surprise to the uninitiated. The stark winterscape of the northern Labrador community of Nain is a contrast to the bright colours of wild iris or cracker berry. Even the high summer temperatures can’t melt the massive, hard-drying icebergs that meander down Newfoundland’s northern coast.
All of the pictures are pleasantly composed, but few show the brilliant creativity that elevates an artist above the better-than-adequate journeyman professional. This book fulfills its purpose as a showcase for the places and people that make Maritime Canada unique.