Friday, October 29, 2021

Book Review - National Geographic Photo Ark Wonders by Joel Sartore

Book Review

Photo Ark Wonders: Celebrating Diversity in the Animal Kingdom is a big, oversized book of animal photographs.  I wanted to read this book because I am an lifelong animal lover and also love animal photographs.

After an introduction, the book is divided into four chapters: Shape, Pattern, Extra, and Attitude. The introduction was a fascinating behind the scenes glimpse at the making of this book. Joel Sartore flew home from an assignment to be with his wife Kathy, who had breast cancer, and their three children.  In the period after this, the idea of the Photo Ark - photographing all the animal species of the world - came to be.  This involved adventures like staying in a zoo's rhino barn.

I love what the photographer writes about animals:

"... Sparing some mouse or little brown toad is simply the right and noble thing to do. There's no money in it, just the satisfaction of doing the right thing as gauged by someone who simply can't stand the thought of living in a world that's being diminished daily.

To me at least, none of this is too burdensome - this invitation for us to pause, and marvel, and act,  before a prairie wind carries that rare bird's soft song away for the very last time, or the mountain stream loses that native trout that has continued to glow brilliant red and gold even through the most violent of storms" (p. 21).   

The photographs in this book are exceptional. I love the close up views of animals that are unexpected, like Budgett's Frog, or a collage of photos of the varieties of crabs!  There are familiar animals, like giraffes, and unfamiliar (at least to me!) animals like the gerenuk, which looks like a long-legged deer.  I think my personal favorite photo was a two page close up of the face of a Sand Cat that lives in the Sahara.  At close range the Sand Cat looks so much like domestic cats that we all know and love.

I cannot recommend Photo Ark Wonders highly enough for anyone who loves animals. This would make an exceptional gift too. It is a book I will leave out to look through and enjoy again and again.

Book Synopsis

A glorious new volume of Sartore’s signature animal portraits, this time highlighting the fascinating shapes, patterns, and expressions of animals both familiar and little known.

Joel Sartore, on a mission to photograph all the animal species in human care, now delights us with more photographs, this time selected to represent the amazing diversity of the world’s animals.

The book’s four chapters — Pattern, Shape, Extra, and Personality — invite us to revel in these photographs, many cleverly paired into amusing and often surprising comparisons, like the catfish and the mouse with the same stripes down their backs, the tarantula and the poison dart frog both cobalt blue, or the tiny lizard and the weighty ox both sporting pointed horns.

  • Each photograph gets its own page or two-page spread.
  • Scientifically accurate captions highlight distinctive features.
  • Throughout, Sartore recalls telling moments from his photographic adventures.

With all new image selections, this book expands the best-selling Photo Ark series, sure to be a hit with those who already treasure National Geographic Photo ArkBirds of the Photo Ark, and Photo Ark Vanishing.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


1 comment:

trish said...

I could look at animals all day! Sounds like a wonderful book. Thank you for being on this tour!