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You Are Hereby Katharine Harmon
Maps are magical pieces of paper. Who doesn't love to pore over them and imagine traveling to New York, Paris, Amsterdam or even Weed, California? Maps are reassuring when you are lost, and they inspire you to dream when you're stagnant. Author Katherine Harmon collects maps of a different sort in her new book, You are Here. There is a map for every human emotion, and the artists in this book map the ways of the heart, the way to God, the way to Success, and the Way to the Deep Woods. Artists map their dreams and fears and inner selves in these pages.
But not all of the maps in here are traditional ones. One artist, Ronald White, documents his long walks with photographs. There's a photo of his bare feet cooling off in a river, and next we see an artfully abstract photo of some bird excrement. His maps are more gritty than most, but also amusing.
What else is inside? Lots. There's a dense poem in the shape of the island of Manhattan as well as a map of "Loveland." A lifetime's worth of scars on a woman's body is another kind of map, both physical and mental. "Imagined maps" feature the work of Edward Gorey, Quentin Blake, folk artist Howard Finster and William Wegman's geographical paintings. You Are Here is a lovely book to lose yourself in, whether you're a cartographer, an avid traveler, or an artist looking for whimsical inspiration.
In a chaotic and uncertain world there is something very calming about maps. Across all cultures, mapmaking is a commonality. Harmon's collection beautifully documents humanity's obsession with knowing who, where, why, when and how we as explorers fit in.
Synopses & Reviews
Mapmaking fulfills one of our most ancient and deep-seated desires: understanding the world around us and our place in it. But maps need not just show continents and oceans: there are maps to heaven and hell; to happiness and despair; maps of moods, matrimony, and mythological places. There are maps to popular culture, from Gulliver's Island to Gilligan's Island. There are speculative maps of the world before it was known, and maps to secret places known only to the mapmaker. Artists' maps show another kind of uncharted realm: the imagination. What all these maps have in common is their creators' willingness to venture beyond the boundaries of geography or convention.
You Are Here is a wide-ranging collection of such superbly inventive maps. These are charts of places you're not expected to find, but a voyage you take in your mind: an exploration of the ideal country estate from a dog's perspective; a guide to buried treasure on Skeleton Island; a trip down the road to success; or the world as imagined by an inmate of a mental institution. With over 100 maps from artists, cartographers, and explorers, You are Here gives the reader a breath-taking view of worlds, both real and imaginary.
"Harmon packs some serious intellectual concepts about the human impulse to locate itself in the cosmos....Harmon's intricate and thoughtful selections do indeed prove her point that mapmaking is as diverse and extraordinary a human act as any other." Publishers Weekly
"[A] charming companion for those who prefer to begin their voyages by sitting back and closing their eyes." Washington Post
About the Author
Katharine Harmon is a principal at Tributary Books in Seattle, Washington.
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