Saturday, February 13, 2010

Vanishing Act by Art Wolf with text by Barbara Sleeper (Review)

Vanishing Act

Art Wolf is a nature photographer. In his own words "this book is about animal's incredible ability to vanish in plain sight." He describes the book as interactive because the reader ought to find the hidden critter. The capacity to 'vanish in plain sight' is described here as camouflage, deception, disguise,and the lures and decoys employed by the species to avoid predation or to attack without being detected by the potential prey. The description of what biologist would call cryptic behavior or bayesian mechanisms is not described here in scientific terms but instead as powerful visual images.
This book the authors say, portraits the world we live in "an eat-or-be eaten world." And it also portraits the will of animals to stay alive!
The 'Vanishing Act'honors some of those species that are vanishing or becoming endangered or extinct, but mostly it focus in the ability of cryptic species to hide. Beyond that, this book is an expression of the visual art and of the skills of an accomplished photographer.