"Absolute Maui" is more than a coffee table book.
As the cover reflects, it is an unadulterated view of Maui seen through the eyes of two young girls walking along a leaf-littered path.
It is a sweeping pictorial merging the past and present, capturing a vision for a time-honored future embracing the true meaning of aloha aina, love of the land.
The book features 175 photos from 31 photographers.
The narrator is Tom Stevens, a familiar, soulful voice best known for his "Shave Ice" column in The Maui News. His rainbow of words is a testament to the collection of stunning images.
Stevens, an old hat in texting coffee table books, relished the "Absolute Maui" experience.
"What I like best about the book are the sections on Hawaiians, the ocean and local people. I thought those photos captured the soul and spirit of Maui more effectively than the usual tourist-themed scenics of hotels, gardens, beaches, sunsets and moon rises.
"The book also includes some truly striking photos that capture amazing light, texture or contrast; others that distill classic human moments of pride, joy, competition or reflection."
Doug Peebles was the photo editor. His resume is as impressive as the 15 photos he contributed to the compilation.
"I started with 9,500 (photographs) from 50 photographers, and there are 175 photos in the book from 31 photographers; 27 of the photographers live on Maui," he said.
Stevens described the selection process as distinctive.
"By soliciting work from scores of commercial and amateur photographers, 'Absolute Maui' framed itself as a sort of juried exhibition in which thousands of images
were whittled down to a couple of hundred. This gave the book a sort of 'best of' gloss," Stevens remarked.
"With 31 photographers," Peebles added, "the images in Absolute Maui are extraordinarily diverse. It is the best collection of images available to portray the beauty and spirit of the people and place that is Maui. From a thousand feet above to a hundred feet below, from whales to geckos, the photos in 'Absolute Maui' cover it all," Peebles added.
Featured photographers, other than Peebles, include Bob Bangerter, Randy Jay Braun, Cindy Campbell, Ron Dahlquist, Rob Decamp, Quincy Dein, Terrie Eliker, David Fleetham, Anita Harris, Douglas J. Hoffman, Aubrey Hord, Randy Hufford, Leah Mark, Laurent Martres, Scott Mead, Linny Morris, Mike Neal, Cameron Nelson, Tony Novak-Clifford, David Olsen, Zach Pezzillo, Dave Schoonover, Monica and Michael Sweet, Shane Tegarden, Greg Vaughn, Jessica Veltri, David Watersun, Frank Wicker, Marty Wolff and Darrell Wong.
"Absolute Maui" is a Mutual Publishing production. It is available wherever books are sold.