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In a world ever more congested and polluted with both toxins and noise, award-winning photographer Pete McBride takes readers on a once-in-a-lifetime escape to find places of peace and quiet—a pole-to-pole, continent-by-continent quest for the soul.
We tend to think of silence as the absence of sound, but it is actually the void where we can hear the sublime notes of nature. In this National Outdoor Book Award winning work, photographer Pete McBride reveals the wonders of these hushed places in spectacular imagery—from the thin-air flanks of Mount Everest to the depths of the Grand Canyon, from the high-altitude vistas of the Atacama to the African savannah, and from the Antarctic Peninsula to the flowing waters of the Ganges and Nile.
These places remind us of the magic of being “truly away” and how such places are vanishing. Often showing beauty from vantages where no other photographer has ever stood, this is a seven-continent visual tour of global quietude—and the power in nature’s own sounds—that will both inspire and calm.
About the Author
Pete McBride is a self-taught photographer, filmmaker, writer, and public speaker who has traveled on assignment to over 75 countries for the National Geographic Society, Smithsonian, Google, and the Nature Conservancy. His documentary Into the Canyon was nominated for a 2020 Emmy, and his book The Grand Canyon won the National Outdoor Book Award and the National Park Book of the Year. Bill McKibben is an environmentalist and writer who contributes to the New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, and Outside. In 2001, Erik Weihenmayer became the first blind person to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. He is one of the most sought-after speakers in the world.
“2022 National Outdoor Book Award: Nature & The Environment. When photographer Pete McBride uses the word ‘silence,’ he means the absence of man-made sounds. The silence of nature, he writes, can range from ‘pin drop quiet one second and wonderfully loud the next.’ We learn that there are few places where one can hear only nature’s silence. Even in wilderness areas, the frequent rumble of jets is heard as they pass over. McBride has travelled the globe, seeking out those rare hide-aways of nature’s silence, and in this fine work, he shares what he has found through stories and breathtaking photography.”
“With striking images and thoughtful essays, McBride's book, captures two under-appreciated but increasingly important elements of our world: the power of silence and the magic of natural sounds.” —PAUL NICKLEN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CONTRIBUTOR AND FOUNDER OF SEALEGACY
“Pete McBride’s journey and imagery stirs the soul. With astute observation, this spectacular book asks us to slow down, observe the exquisite moments all around us and listen to the poetry and wisdom in nature.” —AMI VITALE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PHOTOGRAPHER AND FILMMAKER
“Capturing light is an important talent for any photographer. Capturing the magic of nature, especially the moments when stillness and silence suspend a moment in time and space, that is art, and Pete McBride is the best at conveying that feeling on a page. This book is pure magic!” —CRISTINA MITTERMEIER, PHOTOGRAPHER AND FOUNDER OF SEALEGACY
“The COVID-19 pandemic and associated global border closings have made us value more than ever the astonishing wonder of travel, remembering when we were once able to wander the world at will. So the timing of a remarkable new book—Seeing Silence: The Beauty of the World’s Most Quiet Places by award-winning photographer and filmmaker Pete McBride—is perfectly poised to be published this month as a mesmerizing tribute to wanderlust and a soothing gift for those who miss the bliss of the beyond. This 216-page, lavishly photographed and compellingly written ode to off-the-beaten-path treasures focuses not on the total absence of sound, but rather the serene whispers and the significant stirrings of nature.
An easy, engaging read, Seeing Silence brims aplenty with descriptions of McBride’s adventures—such as swimming with orcas in Norway, trekking to Mount Everest and trudging through swampy Amazonian jungles in Peru with British explorer and TV personality Ed Stafford. Across seven continents, from North to South poles, McBride has artfully zoomed his camera lenses at scores of exquisitely singular spots, some of which are virgin terrain, where no other photographer has tread. With an inviting foreword penned by author and environmentalist Bill McKibben and a thoughtful prologue written by activist, adventurer, author and motivational speaker Erik Weihenmayer (the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest), Seeing Silence shares insights about exceptional escapes and bolsters our heart-felt longing for the restorative balm that comes from traversing fresh horizons.” —FORBES
“Seeing Silence by fellow photographer and explorer Pete McBride is a remarkably timely and compelling ode to off-the-beaten-path treasures and the magic of silence and natural sounds—a tonic we all love and need, but often forget amidst the hustle and din of our mechanized world."—JIMMY CHIN, ACADEMY AWARD-WINNING DIRECTOR OF FREE SOLO AND NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PHOTOGRAPHER
"In the search for the last quiet places, McBride’s work has stood as a beacon of advocacy for wild places and the beauty that lies within.” —CHRIS BURKARD, PHOTOGRAPHER AND FILMMAKER
“Listening to Nature was once essential for our survival. Now, it’s a forgotten privilege, often deafened by our own sounds. With visual and lyrical poetry, McBride reminds us of our need for being in Nature. This book is a call to arms, a manifesto for a worldview that embraces the world as a whole while reminding us of our smallness and arrogance.” —MARCELO GLEISER, TEMPLETON PRIZE LAUREATE, AUTHOR OF SIMPLE BEAUTY OF THE UNEXPECTED
“Smithsonian 10 best photo books of 2021. If you know McBride’s work—he has traveled to 75 countries over his two-decades-plus career—you already know that these images are stunning. But what is more impressive, especially in our nonstop, clamorous, crazy world is the sense of silence these photos seem to capture. Your heart rate and breathing almost slow down as you take in photo of magnificent place after photo of magnificent place. No man-made noise, only the sounds of nature and all too rare sound of silence. McBride has given us a gift with this work, by showing us how much the natural world has to offer, if only we will slow down and listen. —SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE