Animal by James Balog (Analysis)

Animal takes readers on a journey through the animal world in a way that you may not have seen before. While you will find some traditional but still amazing photos within Balog’s book, what really sets this work apart is the use of studio-style portraits that are usually exclusively used for human subjects.

Still, Balog doesn’t lose the natural look, and while photos like the cover hint at a studio style (but not quite as over the top as in Anima), Balog’s subjects are still very much part of nature and there’s no risk of anthropomorphizing his subjects despite this unique take on photography.

You’ll find a mix of both captive and wild animals within¬†Animal with species ranging from the rare and unusual like the Wyoming toad which is just as endangered as it was when the book was released in 1999 to more famous and classically photogenic species like elephants and wolves.

But the diversity is what makes this book interesting and taking a wider view helps readers understand that the world of animals is a lot more than just lions, tigers, and elephants.

Some of the photos may be too intense for very young readers, as Balog takes us along for the hunt, but Animals is certainly appropriate for young adult and juvenile readers. Of course, adults of any age will also find the book enjoyable too.

As is the case with most of Balog’s work,¬†Animal is always following the connection between the world of animals, and the world of man and how these inseparable realms are constantly overlapping.

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