Living Skies
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 24 November 2017

Living Skies by Craig Hilts Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Keith Foster $54.99 ISBN 978-1-988783-05-5 There’s nothing like lightning, baseball-sized hail, and tornadoes to get one’s adrenaline pumping. There’s also nothing like a serene sky after a rain to calm a viewer. Craig Hilts, in his hardcover coffee table book Living Skies, has experienced both. He invites readers to look skyward and enjoy a visual feast of pigmentation and textures, especially noticeable in the swirling colours of the aurora borealis. Some photos spread across two-pages, providing a panoramic view of prairie horizons. Occasionally Hilts combines two similar photos, merging them so precisely on facing pages that the combined photos appear as one seamless image. His more than 150 colour photos range from scenic landscapes to the tumult of angry skies. Sometimes the scenery can seem so calm while storm clouds churn above. No wonder Saskatchewan has earned the title, Land of Living Skies. Hilts notes that a green sky, eerie to behold, is usually a warning of an impending tornado and/or severe hail. He’s experienced the rapid-fire force of baseball-sized hail smashing into his vehicle, but fortunately the protective shielding he developed offered some protection. No stranger…

Wascana Lake Through 4 Seasons

Wascana Lake Through 4 Seasons by Sheena Simonson Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $34.95 ISBN 978-1-927756-40-9 When I learned I was reviewing the hardcover photography book Wascana Lake Through 4 Seasons, I thought: Cool, after I’m done, it will make an excellent gift for someone. I’m a born-and-raised Saskatchewanian who now lives on Vancouver Island, and let me tell you, folks, Sheena Simonson’s wonderful publication is so evocative of my home province, this book’s not leaving home. Simonson’s compendium tells the story of a province – historically, socially, seasonally, recreationally, and flora and fauna-wise – not just the story of how Wascana Lake came to be, and how that urban body of water delights visitors year-round. In her afterword to this beautifully-designed and easy-to-read book, the author-photographer explains that some “328 kilometres of trail were covered in order to come up with the final 325 images”. The vibrant photos – some full page spreads, others collages – document Simonson’s “oasis,” and were shot in Wascana Centre between the Albert Memorial Bridge and the Broad Street Bridge. There are myriad photos of the behemoth Legislative Building – particularly impressive in the hoarfrosted winter scenes and…

Saskatchewan Architecture: A Visual Journey, 1930-2011
University of Regina Press / 29 October 2013

Architecture of Saskatchewan: A Visual Journey, 1930-2011 by Bernard Flaman Published by University of Regina Press Review by Keith Foster $49.95 ISBN 978-0-88977-250-2 Saskatchewan is more than a land of living skies and gorgeous sunsets; it also comprises the buildings that dot our prairie landscape and adorn our cityscapes. Architecture of Saskatchewan: A Visual Journey covers the period from the 1930s to the new millennium as a companion volume to Historic Architecture of Saskatchewan, published in 1986, which focused on Saskatchewan’s early heritage buildings. An architect in the field of heritage conservation, Bernard Flaman wrote the introduction to each chapter and the text accompanying the photos. A man of few words, he introduces the chapters, then lets the photos speak for themselves. Flaman uses both black and white and colour images. He took many of the photos himself, supplemented by archival sources and other photographers. This 179-page hardcover coffee table book often shows multiple images of the same structures, displaying the changes or additions that have taken place over the years, or simply showing the buildings in different seasons or at different times of day. The photos create some strange images, especially if one adds a little imagination. The Saints…

Honouring Our Past, Embracing Our Future

Honouring Our Past, Embracing Our Future: Celebrating a Century of Excellence in Education at the University of Regina Campus Text by Dr. James Pitsula Photos selected by Don Hall and Dr. Stephen King Published by the Canadian Plains Research Centre Press Review by Jessica Bickford $39.95 ISBN 9-780889-772434 There are one-hundred years of history packed into Honouring Our Past, Embracing Our Future, which is a visually stunning compilation of archival photographs and historical tidbits about the University of Regina. Dr. James Pitsula, who authored the text, is not only a history professor at the University of Regina, but he is also the authority on U of R history – having written three other books on the subject. Honouring Our Past, Embracing Our Future chronicles the U of R’s story from its humble beginnings in 1911 when Regina College (which was then a high school established by the Methodist Church) opened its doors to a whopping twenty-seven students, right up to the present day when the University now has twelve-thousand students, three federated colleges, and twenty research centres to its name. The intervening years, all chronicled through gorgeous photographs of students, faculty members, staff and buildings, are thoroughly described in four…

Birth of a Boom: Lives & Legacies of Saskatchewan Entrepreneurs
Prairie Policy Centre / 24 December 2010

Birth of a Boom: Lives & Legacies of Saskatchewan Entrepreneurs by Suzanne Paschall Published by Prairie Policy Centre Review by Andréa Ledding $25 ISBN 978-0-9730456-3-5 In this book Suzanne Paschall examines the success of over a dozen Saskatchewan entrepreneurs and their small and mid-sized prairie businesses that helped fuel the “Saskaboom”, an economic upswing which helped our Province outperform most of Canada during a difficult economic time. Paschall’s conversational tone in revealing the people and their success stories creates a readable and even captivating exploration of the business world. Readers can follow people such as Norm Wallace, who as a 19 year-old Irishman immigrated to Canada in 1957 and promptly faked his way into a bank teller position by “translating” and passing off a Gaelic swimming pool certificate as his high school credentials. Wallace later went on to open his own innovative construction company, and is still listing sales of over $20 million annually. Wallace is more than simply a good businessman, though, as he’s given back to a community that’s done so much for him by volunteering and working with felons, families, and the Sasknative Economic Development Corporation. What’s more, Wallace even funded an economic trade mission for four…

A Homemade Life
JackPine Press / 14 December 2010

A Homemade Life by Michael Trussler Published by JackPine Press Review by Kris Brandhagen Price: $35 ISBN: Gorgeous, personal, drawing up memories that conjure loss, Michael Trussler’s A Homemade Life is comprised of black and white photos and text, each a postcard unit to be rearranged on the whim of the reader. Presented in a box with a clear cover the handmade, limited edition book looks just like a package of postcards. Trussler proves himself to be well versed in the conventions of photography. The title image is a beach scene with a woman, made headless by the framing of the photograph, holding onto a leashed dog in the grassy foreground while behind them is a couple sunning themselves on lawn chairs in the sandy middle ground. The edge of a body of water is visible in the background. Intriguingly, all the figures are situated facing the photographer and not, as one might normally expect, the water. In almost perfect thirds, and with lots of windy motion, it is a successful photographic composition and a stunning hook. About twelve postcard pages in, just as I was beginning to wonder if there was a textual element to this book, the poetry…