There have been many television programmes featuring footage of animals shot from `remote cameras' - and indeed many infra-red triggered shots of animals in the wild featured in well known photographic competitions. However Serengeti Spy is the first book dedicated entirely to ground level photographs, concentrating on the East African grasslands and on well known species...but revealing them in a fresh, very personal way.
Anup Shah spent months hiding multiple cameras in key locations across the savanna in order to capture intimate images of animals living in their environment, with no human presence to affect their behaviour. The result is the most amazing portfolio of the usual characters (lion, cheetah, elephant, wildebeest etc) but in the most unusual of poses and from strikingly low angles.
This book does not shy away from huge image usage - from the cover, inside jacket to a glorious number of stunning double page spreads... this is a perfect coffee table book indeed. Should you manage to stop marvelling at the images for a minute however and turn your eye to the text then Shah supports his art with well crafted words that supply the detail to the animal's behaviour, the season it was taken in, what the animal did prior or after the shutter was released. It's an effective combination - lots of images, not too much text.
Shah's intention was to view a well-known area to himself from a different perspective, that of a hunter-gatherer. Not many of us will ever be able to creep up on a lion feeding on the flesh and bones of a gazelle, perhaps not many of us would actually want to, but it's a real privilege to be amongst the legs of adult elephants, standing protectively around a small vulnerable calf, finding its feet for the first time. We all know that the annual migration is one of masses of herbivores stampeding across plains and rivers...but these images taken on the river banks allow us a view of the chaos created by hooves, dust and spray, that its any wonder the camera equipment survives at all and I'm fairly sure that's a subject in itself Shah could write extensively on too.
So those of you that devour natural history photography books, this is an obvious new addition to your collection and those who have been on safari then this offers a chance to relive the experience, but the photos you could never hope to get (unless you fell out a vehicle onto the ground and happened to have your camera in your hand). And for all those who love to travel from the safety of their armchairs, well it doesn't get much closer to nature than this.