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Bird Photographer of the Year 4 (cover)

Publisher: William Collins, London

Publication Year: 2019

Binding: Hardback

Page Count: 256

ISBN Number: 9780008336196

Price: £ 25.00

Bird Photographer of the Year: Collection 4

If a picture paints a thousand words, what can a brief review of a book with 248 beautiful and creatively diverse photos hope to achieve? Happily for all concerned, I am under no illusion that I should try accurately describe each one! I simply aim, using only slightly more than one word per photo that, to convince you that if you like to look at photographs of birds, this book will bring you huge enjoyment. You may, as I do, disagree with many of the selection panel’s choices of award-winners, but they have done a great job in bringing together a fantastic variety of photos, encompassing an impressive sweep of subjects, styles, skill sets and ideas. The decisions to inter-mingle photos from different categories and to disperse the award-winners among the more numerous ‘commended’ photos may annoy some people who would rather skip straight to their favourite categories. However, it will help to spread the attentions of many readers more evenly across the full collection, and I think it makes leafing through the book more exciting. The turn of each page may bring you beautifully framed portraits, exquisite details, impressive landscapes, pleasing patterns, or curious contrasts. The large format of the book, and the fact that a maximum of three photos feature on each double spread (several photos occupy most of two pages), further enhance the reader (or, rather, viewer!) experience. The short blurb accompanying each photo helps to convey something of the photographer’s perspective, and the technical details will be helpful to those blessed with the skills and equipment to try and emulate similar feats. For the rest of us, the photos in this book are simply to be marvelled at and revelled in for the works of art that they are.

Book reviewed by Mark Wilson

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