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Beautiful Whale Hardcover – April 2, 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Life in the Dark: Illuminating Biodiversity in the Shadowy Haunts of Planet Earth by Danté Fenolio
Discover new worlds with science books from the finest academic presses
Stunning, never-before-seen photographs of creatures that live in complete darkness. Learn more | See related books
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bryant Austin is a fine art photographer whose work has exhibited internationally including countries such as Norway, Japan, Spain, Chile, UK, and the United States. He lives in Carmel, California. Sylvia A. Earle is an oceanographer and the founder of Mission Blue, an organization dedicated to establishing marine conservation sites around the world.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 124 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419703846
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419703843
  • Product Dimensions: 12.2 x 0.8 x 15.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've loved whales since I was 5, and having purchased numerous books of underwater photography, I was starting to ask myself "are there any NEW ways to photograph a whale?" As spectacular as they are, pictures of Humpbacks breaching or Sperm Whale pods are a dime a dozen these days. I wouldn't have given this book a second glance if I hadn't done some research on Mr. Austin's work first.

This book contains some of the most incredible pictures of whales I've ever seen. The imagery is startling in it's detail, scale, and intimacy. For a long time, whales have been depicted as almost mystical creatures, rather than flesh and blood. These pictures are so much more natural and organic-looking ; we seen tiny sucker marks around a sperm whale calf's jaw, hair follicles inside a humpback whale's tubercules, the concerned eye of a mother whale keeping a close watch on this human interloper while her calf swims alongside, the fine skin texture of a Minke Whale - really, I could go on a while. The photos also give a great sense of the sheer size of these creatures, helped by the book's huge 12"x15" format and the numerous full-size close-ups of the whales' eyes. I've never seen a Sperm Whale look this big and imposing before - or this gentle and inquisitive either.

Bryant Austin's goal was to create life-size, high-resolution composites of whales, of which three are included in this book as foldouts (scaled down, of course!). While he expresses frustration at his early attempts at creating life-size composites, the photos of a Humpback Whale mother and her calf in the first chapter are probably the most affecting. In comparison, the pictures of a Dwarf Minke Whale in the final chapter aren't as interesting.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you want to cry, this exquisite, astonishing, heart-rending work will do it. The actual physical book is a triumph in itself, somehow managing to convey the size and majesty of the fierce beauty of these beautiful beings. You will see the color blue in previously unimagined ways. The author's own complex feelings, shared with total vulnerability, as well as his dedicated struggle to achieve this multi-leveled work of art, resonate throughout. His artistic and humanistic genius promise even greater achievements, and this writer urges those who can offer support to future projects, to find a way to do so.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My pre-order copy just arrived and I dropped everything to read it. And wonder over it. And delight over both the incredible photography and the lyrical, empathetic narrative. I'll admit that I was so transfixed by the images that I kept finding myself distracted from that narrative, so I'll return to it shortly to give the commentary the attention which is its due.
Those who are not already whale nuts may well find themselves converted. And those of us who are will nod our heads in understanding that this work certainly will contribute to that conversion.
Beautifully conceived and executed!
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Format: Hardcover
I am familiar with some of the images in this book, as, in Tokyo in December 2010, I helped produce the Beautiful Whale Project exhibition of Bryant Austin's photographs, as well as the accompanying symposium "New Tales about Whales in Science, Society & Art" at the United Nations University. We put up big whale posters in the subways and the extensive press coverage guaranteed an audience. Day after day in the gallery, we all stood with whale biologists, conservationists and an ex-whaler, as well as young Japanese professionals, families and school children, and we talked about the photographs. There was a quiet sense of awe at the enormous size, but then the human eye was drawn to the eye of the whale in many of the photos. A bit of magic started to happen.

Pulled in by curiosity, people noted various things as they looked into the eye, but a prevailing line of comments circled around impressions of the whale's being, that the whale seemed to have deep compassion, a knowing sense, a capacity for life, something that humans could share and learn from. The reactions were mostly whispered or scribbled in a mix of Japanese characters and katakana in the guestbook, and on most days, we noticed a few people dabbing a tear.

And now we have the book (mine arrived this week as a welcome review copy). It is suitably big--15 x 12 inches (39 x 31 cm)--and heavy at 4 pounds (1.7 kg). It is a visual feast--a stunning piece of bookmaking with lovely endpapers, jacket and cover design in the tradition of high quality Abrams editions. And here are Bryant's whales, a fresh look at whales, with numerous detailed photos that highlight different parts of the body as well as full body images.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A stunning book not only because of the photography, but also the personal connection to the whales the author so clearly articulated. To be able, and willing, to share that with those of us who feel the same, but may never have the chance to see these beautiful creatures ourselves, is a gift. Thank you.!

My only wish, is that the entire photographic content had been done in color. Personal preference only and not a criticism that it wasn't. I was a bit surprised by the combination however, when I opened the cover.... Still a gorgeous book and I would buy it again.
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