Yukon by Northern Light

Book Review

2 min read by Dmitri.
Published on .

I found this book for $2.50 at a local thrift store. A 6½×10” 78-page hardcover filled with colour photographs from the Canadian north.

It was written by Wayne Towriss and published in Yukon by Studio North Ltd. in 1983; printed by D. W. Friesen and Sons Ltd. in Altona, Manitoba. At the time of publication, Wayne was living in Yukon though he’s originally from Saskatchewan.

The book is fairly short, maybe five hundred words. Most of it is filled with photographs of the wilderness: plants, mountains, snow, and animals. I’d call Wayne’s style of photography “documentary” — it is not particularly stylized. The images he’s captured are unquestionably unique to the place he’s travelled and are all well crafted. Yukon does indeed seem like a beautiful place to visit.

The paint in this book is laid thick on heavy ~60lb, coated paper. Reading it in bright light makes a lot of difference as the colours and the contrast dull in the dusk. The book is fairly thin, wrapped in a sturdy hardcover; my copy didn’t have the outer sleeve.

Wayne introduces the book with an attempt to dispel the reader’s presumed preconceptions about the northern province. In the few paragraphs that support the book, he paints the colourful sprawling landscapes, the sounds of nature, and a short history of the Klondike Gold Rush.

Perhaps being a product of its time, the book’s only four portrait photographs are all white men. Wayne did not talk much about the native peoples living there, throughout and long before the gold rush, other than offering their relative population size and that some of the locations are named in their language. That’s not to say that the book should be “cancelled”— but it is an incomplete representation of the Yukon people.

Overall, the book is well made, it’s compact and travel-friendly, and it features great images from a territory just north of my home, British Columbia. I’m glad I have it.