(Issue 72, Autumn 2015)
By Jacqueline De Monte and Valentino Morgante (Daniele Marson Editore, hardback, ISBN: 978-8897123125)
It’s easy to become slightly blasé about wildlife photography. The myriad pictures strewn across the Internet lessen the impact of what — when we stop to think about it — are, of course, remarkable shots.
However, this recently published collection of images of the African wilderness by Italian duo Jacqueline De Monte and Valentino Morgante stopped me in my tracks. The photographs succeed in transporting you into thrilling proximity with their subjects: a hippo roaring, snapped so close that you can count its uneven mouthful of yellowing teeth; a leopard curled up languorously on the branches of an acacia tree; a protective lioness, her regal face crumpled into a chilling snarl. You can almost smell the African bush.
But it is the landscapes that are most arresting: skies as purple as a bruise; skeletal trees bleached bone-white, and empty expanses of pale, cracked earth. There’s a real sense of poetry to them.
In the introduction Morgante writes lyrically: “The evening shadows grow longer as the rose-coloured sunset slowly fades into night. After a day on safari we are sitting around the campfire, the flames flickering restlessly in the darkness as we admire the beautiful, star-filled African sky.” And so he sets the poetic tone for the images that follow.
Reviewed by Rose Gamble