Facing North

Facing North: Portraits of Ely, Minnesota

Photographs by Andrew Goldman
Essays by Ann Goldman
Foreword by Jim Brandenburg
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 160
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttt9kn
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  • Book Info
    Facing North
    Book Description:

    Ann and Andrew Goldman offer a revealing portrayal of the people who call Ely home. Featuring more than one hundred portraits as well as vivid essays, Facing North tells the story of life in this Northwoods community: its breathtaking beauty, diverse character, and complex history. From resort owners to canoe makers, Facing North is an evocative tribute to the enduring nature of Ely and its people.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-5667-7
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. FOREWORD
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Jim Brandenburg

    First impressions can be powerful, but they don’t always last. Thirty years ago I traveled to Ely on aNational Geographicmagazine photographic assignment. It was one of my first trips for this prestigious institution. I had just picked up supplies and loaded them into the back of my forest green, canoetopped rented station wagon on Sheridan Street, the main drag of the town. I still remember its license plates with the letters ELY followed by three numbers, predating personalized plates; I was impressed with that random coincidence. Perhaps a good omen was attached, and my photographs would make a...

  4. Photographer’s PREFACE
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xix-xx)
  6. A Northwoods Story: ELY, MINNESOTA
    (pp. xxi-2)
  7. [Illustrations]
    (pp. 3-18)
  8. Green ICE
    (pp. 19-24)

    In summer you could dive from a dock into the still-cold waters of Garden Lake, a few miles east of Ely. As you rose up from the green, you would scatter the winter footprints we made there on a lunar landscape of ice and snow. You might float on your back and disperse the dotted path made by white-tailed deer in February as they made their way single file across the frozen lake in search of nourishment on opposite shores. As you rolled over and submerged again, the last ghostly traces of a transient winter terrain would slide away across...

  9. The Tinder Box
    (pp. 45-50)

    I know a small island where an ancient grove of white pine still stands. There is no need for wilderness rangers to hack a trail through the brush here. The island is a majestic and spacious glade with a towering canopy above and the sun dappling through the high branches onto a rusty gold floor. It smells as sweet as anything you can imagine. Ancient places like this are the exception in the Northwoods now, not the rule. They remain only because they were abandoned at the end of a long-ago logging season or were simply too remote for the...

  10. WHAT IS in My Heart
    (pp. 67-70)

    It is pouring rain on a lush September afternoon, and Eric Mase is making room for a shipment of wood in his garage-turned-workshop. Tiny square windows cast a misty, fractured light onto a collection of superbly crafted birch-bark baskets in the Ojibwe style. Botanical themes appear in the amber orange of winter bark, intricately etched from beneath a layer of silver summer bark. Perfectly placed spruceroot stitches hold together the white cedar hoops of the baskets. Above our heads, the ribs of a traditional Ojibwe canoe arch across the space like a close-knit canopy of branches. We are surrounded by...

  11. Wild Neighbors
    (pp. 89-94)

    We opened the U.S. Department of Agriculture brochure titled “How to Live with Black Bears” to find an image of a furry black head bobbing in the middle of a lake. The caption read, “black bears can swim to island campsites.” Now, that is the kind of information a person really needs to know.

    After years of honing up on bear lore, hiking with bear bells, and singing songs along the trail so as not to surprise anything big and scary, we eventually came across our first bear on our cousins Nan and Gerry Snyder’s back porch. Theirislandback...

  12. THE MAGIC of It All
    (pp. 113-118)

    “There’s the right way, the wrong way, and the Widji way.” Into the water walk three young women with a wood and canvas canoe held high above their heads. Three sets of hiking boots and socks are soaked through as the girls gently flip the canoe onto the water and step into it in well-practiced unison. This canoe will never be pulled onto rocks or dragged across sand in the manner of aluminum or Kevlar vessels—that would be counter to the Widji way. From the shore their counselor congratulates them, and the next group of three girls grabs hold...

  13. NOTES on the Portraits
    (pp. 133-161)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 162-162)