Not all of the animals but a large sampling of the world’s species remains on colorful display in this photo book.
The Lynns (The Sarcastic Lens, 2014), a husband-and-wife photographic and writing team, present the haul from some three decades of trotting the globe and taking pictures of animals. The results run the gamut, from minute leafcutter ants to a gigantic blue whale; from an eye-popping peacock to a warthog that seems almost as exhibitionistic in its ugliness; from the brilliant red of the Andean cock-of-the-rock to the dull matted brown of the hyena; from polar bears to Antarctic penguins; from coyotes savagely devouring an elk carcass to tender leopard-on-leopard licking. Certain commonalities emerge from the profusion of fascinating particularities, one being the profound ennui that pervades the life of an animal. Cheetahs, lions, pumas, jaguars, great white sharks, Tasmanian devils, alligators, and hippopotamuses are forever lounging about, gazing listlessly at the camera or yawning wide in a sign of either persistent boredom or a (justified) pride in their fangs. Richard avers that he had to spend two hours watching a three-toed sloth before it finally moved enough to reveal its face. Other beasts are more industrious, particularly the birds, which are forever flitting about flowers, biting fish, or regurgitating food to their chicks. Mainly the dazzling book offers a series of beguiling character studies: flamingos, pacing like ballet dancers in pink-and-white tutus above long legs; a giraffe splayed awkwardly to lower its head to the water; a fiddler crab defying the world with its swollen claw; bison standing immovably beneath a coat of snow; blue-footed boobies kissing with their awkward long bills; a gray langur monkey, its velvety black face framed by a white ruff, peering out with a look of searching reflection. The Lynns’ photography is crisp and vibrant with color and captures animals with an absorbing immediacy.
A fine coffee-table volume of natural portraiture.