Chinese philosopher Lao Tse said: “The biggest revelation is silence”. We realised that too when, during the hard months of lockdown, in our rare excursions we saw familiar places in a new light and felt like we were discovering them for the first time. The cities, usually submerged by an endless clamour and by the annoying noise of traffic, turned into deserted, almost ghostly places without any sound. When dealing with silence, a new way that most of us are no longer used to, reactions were the most diverse: there were those who panicked, those who were able to grasp this unusual condition, the emergence of the secret soul of places and for this reason felt a positive sense of wonder accompanied by an inner tranquillity. Precisely to the theme of silence is dedicated the volume recently published by Rizzoli “Seeing Silence: The Beauty of the World’s Most Quiet Places”.
It is a beautiful photographic volume with charming images taken all over the world by the photographer, filmaker, writer Pete McBride. Winner of several awards, McBride has travelled to more than 75 countries on behalf of National Geographic Society, Smithsonian, Google and Nature Conservancy. Its documentary “Into the Canyon” was nominated for an Emmy Award and his book “The Grand Canyon” won the National Outdoor Book Award and the National Park Book of the Year. In this new work he takes us to magical places, some of which never visited before, about which – especially during the lockdown – we have dreamt a lot: from the altitude of mount Everest to the depth of Grand Canyon, from the vastness of the Atacama Desert to the African savannah, from the Antarctic Peninsula to the majesty of the Ganges and the Nile. This book by McBride is one that pays homage to the beauty of the natural world and at the same time a reminder to us all to be able to preserve these magical places, constantly threatened by pollution and by an often mindless and environmentally unfriendly tourism. The author Vito Mancuso observed: “The deepest levels of existence can only be reached through silence, because it is only silence that allows us to delve into ourselves.” Pete McBride’s photos, dominated by an unspoiled nature enveloped in an almost surreal silence, confirm the truthfulness of this reflection.
Above: One of the images by Pete McBride published in the book “Seeing Silence: The Beauty of the World’s Most Quiet Places”, Rizzoli