Title: James and Other Apes
Author: James Mollison
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Conservation, Photography
Dates read: 26th August 2019
Format: Coffee Table Book
5th sentence, 74th page: Kudel
Fifty great apes – chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and bonobos, our closest biological relatives – are featured in these portraits by James Mollison. Photographed over four years in ape sanctuaries in four continents, each ape is revealed as a unique character. With case note biographies, and introduced with a powerful and moving essay by Jane Goodall, this book celebrates the great apes – at a moment in time their survival is threatened.
This was such a beautiful book. Graphically speaking. The photographs were stunning. The intensity of the gazes as they starred out of the pages, unforgettable. It is one of those books that I won’t forget, and I’m so glad that I’ve now added this to my shelf. It was irreplaceably beautiful and spine tinglingly aware.
I knew from the blurb and Jane Goodall’s introduction that this was a book that was supposed to highlight our differences to apes and make us realise that our similarities are undeniable. To almost humanise the plight of the big apes so that people will be less callous about their treatment of the environment and their homes. What I didn’t expect was the spine-tingling feeling I got as I flipped through the pages. I found that I was just sitting, there, starring entranced into the eyes of each of the individuals. Learning their names as I picked up their different nuances and personalities…
This is the sort of coffee table book that I’m going to annoy my friends with. The simplicity and beauty of the pictures and the brief biographies about each ape in the back make it accessible to everyone. And it is a great way to highlight how important it is to conserve and nurture our environment. Instead of using it for our own means.
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