Book Review

Cover: The Bush and Eye. he Bush and Eye: Lower Zambezi National Park - Zambia

Author: François d'Elbée

Publisher: Self Published

ISBN 0-620-29149-4

François d'Elbée is a French photographer whose love of Africa drew him away from the city life of Paris to the African bush. He has travelled the continent widely over the past forty years and has lived permanently in Zambia since 1996.

He is obviously in love with the Lower Zambezi National Park, and it's easy to see why. There is no other place on the planet quite like this area. Occupying a long stretch of the Zambezi River valley the park contains a richly diverse heritage of flora and fauna. It's location and special protection means that this is one of the last remaining inviolate areas of the planet.

This is d'Elbée's fifth book about Zambia, but his first that features African wildlife exclusively. After spending five months based at Chiawa Camp he has produced a classic "coffee table" publication, with large pictures and minimal captioning.

After a brief introduction the book showcases some stunning photography. The collection highlights the beauty of Africa's wildlife in a number of different styles; low-key, subtle, aerial, abstract, classic and bold. It is d'Elbée's use of light and composition that makes this book worth studying. He brings his own way of looking at a subject that has been covered many times before - and adds something new to the genre.

The 129 photographs are mostly displayed one to a page. This allows each to be studied and enjoyed to the full. Most are accompanied by a simple caption that waxes lyrical about some facet of the subject. Some are poetic; others somewhat abstract and some simply note an aspect of animal behaviour.

This is not a book to be read but one to be looked at and enjoyed. If you are searching for a new angle on photographs of African wildlife, you should enjoy this book.


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