The Splendor of Birds: Art and Photographs From National Geographic
Foreword by Jonathan Baillie, Text by Catherine Herbert Howell
National Geographic Society/Penguin Random House: 10/23/18
hardcover review copy; 512 pages
The Splendor of Birds: Art and Photographs From National Geographic is a very highly recommended collection of the best artwork and photography
from the National Geographic archives featuring birds.
This visually stunning, breath-takingly beautiful collection covers 130
years of the National Geographic collection of photos and artwork
celebrating birds. The Splendor of Birds was created to commemorate the
Year of the Bird initiative, which is a year-long effort dedicated to
protecting and celebrating birds.. The gorgeous large hardcover book is
arranged chronologically so readers can witness the
tremendous growth in our knowledge of birds: Chapter 1 covers 1888-1939;
Chapter 2 1940-1969; Chapter 3 1970-1999; and Chapter 4 covers
2000-2018. At the end of the book is a list of all the contributors with
a short biography of each of them. There is also a species index.
Since being founded in 1880, the National Geographic Society has a
long-standing tradition of supporting increased knowledge, including
about birds. They have funded nearly 1,000 scientific grants which
focused on birds and have invested nearly 2 million dollars over the
last two years on projects to protect and understand birds.
The gorgeous photography and lovely artwork from National Geographic are
depicted together to honor the history and wonder of birds. There are
also then and now comparisons throughout the book as well as short
featured pictures of individual topics, for example babies, nests, and
feathers. The diversity of the photos of birds from around the world is
amazing, moving from vintage black and white photos to the current day
state-of-the-art camera shots. All the pictures are magnificent and some
are stunning. Some of the photos are so incredible they seem
unbelievable or even surrealistic. The sheer beauty of some of the
photos may move you to tears, as they did me.
Ever since my father, a dedicated nature lover and bird watcher, took
all of us to the Platte River in Nebraska every year in the 60's and
70's to watch the migrations of the Sand Hill cranes and the whooping
cranes, I have loved watching birds. The picture of the sand hill cranes
on pages 482-483 brought all those many viewings back to life for me
and I wish my father was still here so I could share this book with him.
This volume is truly a keepsake that will be cherished for years. I
would also keep this in mind for the upcoming holiday season since The Splendor of Birds would make an excellent gift.
Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this
book from National Geographic and TLC.
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