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Taschen America Llc
Jungles are mysterious and even threatening places, among the least explored landscapes on the earth--and just the sort of place, therefore, that you might expect to find the ever-intrepid wildlife photographer Frans Lanting. "The tropical forest may be a naturalist's paradise," he writes, "but for a photographer it can be a nightmare. Once you are inside it is all blood, sweat, and leeches. Whatever you take into the forest becomes part of the food chain, whether it is your equipment or yourself."
But difficult conditions come with the work. In this oversized portfolio of 120 full-color images made over two decades on four continents, Lanting chronicles the life of the world's jungles, organizing the work by themes (water and light, color and camouflage, anarchy and order, form and evolution). As befits the jungle's manic pace, few of the images are static, as Lanting captures macaws and butterflies and even frogs in flight, orangutans brachiating their way from vine to vine, turkeys and snakes scrambling and slithering. Some of the images are nothing short of astonishing, among them views of an otherworldly cloudforest lobelia thicket in Hawaii and of treetop expanses that exhibit the phenomenon called "canopy shyness," an arboreal version of animal territoriality. Admirers of Lanting's previous books, such as Okavango and Eye to Eye, will prize his new collection, while rainforest devotees will find much to inspire them in the images he brings before us. --Gregory McNamee
According to Lanting, the word jungle derives from a Sanskrit word that meant "impenetrable vegetation." Lanting prefers the term jungle over such specific terms as lowland rain forest to describe "impenetrable vegetation" because of its imprecise meaning and because it "leaves room for the imagination." And imagination is the watchword in delving into any Lanting photo book. With Jungles, Lanting draws on two decades of fieldwork in various continents to show connections in those... read more