144 pages, 101 colour photos
In this astonishing book, legendary wildlife photographer Art Wolfe turns to one of nature's most fundamental survival techniques: the vanishing act. His portraits show animals and insects disappearing into their surroundings, using deceptions, disguises, lures, and decoys to confuse the eyes of both predator and prey. In a world where nothing is as it appears to be, a lion blends into the tall grass in the late-afternoon sun, or a harp seal disappears against his snowy backdrop. Pastel orchids can suddenly morph into predatory praying mantises, while lizard heads become tails. What at first appears to be a torn and decomposing leaf on a forest floor in Peru suddenly sprouts legs and starts walking: it is a leaf-mimic katydid.
Spotting each cryptic animal amid Wolfe's clever compositions is both a fun and an informative challenge. At a time when many species are performing permanent vanishing acts due to habitat loss and human encroachment, Vanishing Act showcases the beauty and evolutionary extremes of animal behavior and artfully illustrates the tenacious will to stay alive in an eat-or-be-eaten world.
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Art Wolfe is a major award winner and was named Outstanding Nature Photographer of the Year by North American Nature Photography Association.
Barbara Sleeper writes widely on nature and has travelled to more than 80 countries.