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Marbach, Cook combine talents for book about the valley

'Land of Plenty' hits stands soon

Life in the Hood River Valley is just about as good as it gets. Breathing clean air, drinking pure water, enjoying fruits of the land in a small friendly town with plenty of character and no end of recreational possibilities — all in the most beautiful of settings.

It would be difficult to list all of the good things about this place. But local photographer Peter Marbach has captured in photographs a great many of them, and the result is his latest book, “Hood River Valley, Land of Plenty.”

The book, with text by Janet Cook, grew out of his experience putting together “Oregon Harvest,” a statewide photo essay on the fruit and farming industry. When Marbach realized that there was enough imagery in the Hood River Valley to warrant its own book and that there wasn’t such a book available, he knew what he wanted to do next.

With the area’s fame spreading internationally and the resulting throngs coming to visit, Marbach felt there was a very real need for a illustrative book about Hood River. He thought it would be a good time to “ride that wave of awareness.”

“People want something they can take home with them to show their friends,” he said. “It could even serve as a recruitment tool to show the quality of life, which could bring business here. It’s my hope that the book works on a number of levels.”

Marbach’s images and Cook’s writing work well together to illustrate what makes people passionate about Hood River. (Cook is a staff writer for the Hood River News.) For Marbach, who has lived in this area for about 10 years and is “still in the honeymoon period,” the opportunity to work at home on a subject he loves was just too good for words. Unlike “Oregon Harvest,” which represented six years on the road, “Hood River Valley, Land of Plenty” took about a year to complete, and didn’t take him away from his family. “It just doesn’t get better than that,” he said.

Marbach’s photography has appeared in numerous national publications and his work has been used in calendars, books, magazines and advertising. He has also published several fine art posters, including three consecutive Mt. Hood Jazz Festival commemorative prints.

In her work, Cook writes feature stories about the people and places of the Hood River Valley. She has won numerous regional and national awards for her work.

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Both Marbach and Cook will be on hand during this week’s First Friday event to sign copies of their book at Waucoma Bookstore, from 5:30-8 p.m.

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