Monday, May 07, 2007

Willard Price: The Photographer

The Adventure Series greatest claim to fame was that the author was writing from experience. Just how much experience can be seen by looking to the titles of his two autobiographical works. You know that you are in for something special when the author of a book for children called Volcano Adventure can preface it with a note like this:

“The chief characters in this book are fictional, but the volcanic events described actually happened. A bell containing observers did descend 1,250 feet into the boiling crater of Mihara, the Kaiyo Maru was sunk by a submarine explosion, divers discovered Falcon Island fifty feet below the surface, Tin Can’s thirty craters erupted so savagely that the entire population had to be removed, Mauna Loa has frequently sent rivers of lava to the sea, and Hilo was saved by bombing… The author has personally visited all the scenes described. In his pursuit of information on the habits of volcanoes, he has climbed Asama, Aso, Mihara, Kilauea, Mauna Loa, Paricutin and Vesuvius, and has flown over Popocatepetl, Pelee, Momotombo, Izalco, Misti, Stromboli, Etna, Uracaz and Apo”

Unsurprisingly, with this level of travel under his belt, Price was something of an amateur photographer. Many of his books are illustrated with his own b/w photos and, while they are not on the level of the photos for The National Geographic, for which he worked for many years, their ‘enthusiastic traveller’ feel makes them rather charming.

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