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Victor Lang Review 

“By The Shining Big-Sea-Water”
(Perimeter Of An Island)
By Eugenia H. Campbell

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The title is borrowed from Longfellow’s “The Song of Hiawatha” and the subtitle refers to Galveston, Texas.  Galveston is a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico just south of Houston, Texas. 

This book is a collection of photographs of the perimeter of Galveston Island taken on early morning walks from the east to the west ends of Galveston.  There are forty-two photographs, including the splendid one on the front cover.  This reviewer is not one given to over praising in literature, art, theater or politics.  The word that comes to mind when referring to this collection of photographs is stunning.  The photographs are visually stunning and it is just that simply said.

Eugenia Campbell is a recognized artist in two other mediums.  She is a painter who has worked extensively with acrylics in her later career and also a sculptor.  When her late husband, Archie Campbell, retired from a business career the couple began to take walks on the beaches of Galveston at sunrise during various times of the year.  Mr. Campbell gave his wife a camera with a panoramic lens; resulting in the photographs appearing in this book.  Her eye as an artist in whatever medium she is working is always focused on texture.

The juxtaposition of clouds, water, grass, rock and sand of our local beaches is abundantly related to texture.  As I turned the pages of this book I felt I could “touch” the ripples in the sand and “feel” small waves lapping at my bare feet when I was a child.  Small human figures standing at water’s edge during sunrise appear to be in that pleasant “fugue” state one enters mentally while surrounded by great beauty.

Readers may want to visit and read my essay on Mrs. Campbell as an artist.  Essay

I interviewed her extensively for this piece and was delighted with her as a person and with her work as an artist. At the time of that interview I was shown the photographs that are now published and I am indeed glad others will now have the opportunity to view them.

There are several interesting aspects to the book in addition to the photographs themselves.  The book is in soft cover with a spiral binding.  It qualifies as a “coffee table” book but can also serve an additional purpose.  One page on one side is devoted to each photograph and there is a generous margin around the page.  Mrs. Campbell pointed out to me that each photograph could be removed, matted and framed as a separate piece of art.  The author had several of her most favorite shots matted and framed for her children as Christmas gifts.  I liked this idea very much.  When I was younger and had little money to spend on art, I would have been delighted to find such a collection at a modest price and assuredly would have had them matted and framed rather than buying cheap prints or posters for my walls.

Presently, the photographs may be found at two Galveston locations.  Midsummer Books at 2309 Mechanic and J. Bangle Galleries West Beach at 13708 FM 3005.   I am giving several as Christmas gifts and find the book ideal for sharing.  The price is $39.95.

Mrs. Campbell will sign books at Midsummer on Saturday 22 January 2005 which is also the evening of the first Art Walk of the new year.

I happily urge readers to treat themselves and their friends to a visual feast---and one that is not just seasonal---of Galveston Island.  

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