James Mollison: James & Other Apes

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James and Other Apes is a collection of 50 close-up portraits of gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans and bonobos. The images are so strong and the featured apes-all named, with personal histories-so human-like that the viewer calls into question the dividing-line between "man" and "animal." Photographed in sanctuaries across Africa and Asia, the apes featured are mainly victims of the trade in bush meat that threatens to cause their extinction. The work of young British image-maker James Mollison, a photographer ...
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Overview

James and Other Apes is a collection of 50 close-up portraits of gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans and bonobos. The images are so strong and the featured apes-all named, with personal histories-so human-like that the viewer calls into question the dividing-line between "man" and "animal." Photographed in sanctuaries across Africa and Asia, the apes featured are mainly victims of the trade in bush meat that threatens to cause their extinction. The work of young British image-maker James Mollison, a photographer working for the Benetton artlab "Fabrica" outside Venice, these images are a moving and powerful argument for the protection of the great apes and endorsed by world-renowned scientist and best-selling author Jane Goodall in her powerful introduction to the book.
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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
James and Other Apes is the latest book of photography from notable Benetton affiliate James Mollison. It contains 50 portraits (with short bios) of chimps, gorillas, bonobos, and orangutans taken in sanctuaries in Africa and Asia, as well as a heartfelt foreword from scientist and author Jane Goodall (My Life with the Chimpanzees). This book is an important piece of art for several reasons. The straight-on "mug shot" style of the photographs themselves forces the reader to look only into the faces and eyes of these apes, as opposed to our usual zoo or Discovery Channel viewing, where we see them from a distance doing whatever cute "apelike" things we are used to. It takes them out of the usual context and forces us to look at them as individuals, as faces with names.

The faces are extraordinarily expressive, and the eyes undeniably contain genuine feeling and thought. In the back of the book there is an index of each ape by name, with a short biography that includes age, circumstances of acquisition, and mental and physical condition, both upon arrival at the sanctuary and at the time of photographing. Most of these apes witnessed the slaughter of their mothers at a very young age. Some were put on sale next to their mother's meat in marketplaces. Some were kept as pets and treated well until they grew too big and strong for their owners. Some arrived at the sanctuary malnourished, mutilated, or exhibiting signs of post-traumatic stress syndrome. Some have permanent mental disorders. Some have cerebral palsy, meningitis, or parasitic diseases. Almost all of them needed surrogate mothers and varying amounts of time to assimilate themselves into the group, but almost all have flourished and are eventually able to be released back into the wild.

Continuing development (read: destruction of habitats) in the Congo and other places makes it easy for poachers to get into the forests to kill the older apes for food (considered a delicacy) or capture them for profit. By humanizing these animals, this book reinforces how wrong it is to treat them in a way that damages and endangers the entire species. The fact is that we share 99 percent of our DNA with chimps. To witlessly cause the extinction of the species should give us considerable pause, should it not? Take a moment to educate yourself with this book. It is a remarkable lesson in tolerance and compassion. Elizabeth McMillan

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780954689438
  • Publisher: Chris Boot Ltd
  • Publication date: 6/30/2008
  • Edition description: New
  • Pages: 120
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in 1973 in Kenya, James Mollison studied Art and Design at Oxford Brookes University and Documentary Photography at Newport School of Art and Design in the UK. He now lives in Venice, Italy. Part of the radical and influential Italian art and design workshop 'Fabrica', his work has been widely seen in publications.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 15, 2012

    For all ages

    I bought this book just before Christmas when my adult children and spouses were going to be here. They all had a chance to look through the beautiful photographs and read the passages on the lives of the children. This book was a great conversation starter. Although some of the photographs are a somewhat "staged" it is clear that there are monumental differences in children's lives around the world. From the utterly privileged to the totally disadvantaged, children are the future and it is everyone's responsibility to make some effort to balance this future.
    The images are stunning, the passages are simple yet revealing and it is a book that should help bring a better understanding to all ages.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 9, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Well done.

    It's difficult to see the hopeless conditions some children face daily while other children have wonderful lives. Wish they all could enjoy childhood.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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