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Why We Photograph Animals

Huw Lewis-Jones


Exploring the entangled relationships between humans and other animals, this visual anthology will reframe your understanding of how we photograph animals and show you why photographing them matters to us and the planet

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A visual overview of the history and future of animal photography, Why We Photograph Animals encourages us to think and rethink the way we have looked at - and used - animals and to consider our future relationships with non-human species.

Multi-stranded, this book features the work of more than 100 photographers supported by thematic essays that provide historical context; interviews with and contributions by leading contemporary photographers that explore their influences, methods and motivations; and dazzling visual collections that present the very best animal photography from its inception to the present day. The result is a book that will engage those with an interest in wildlife photography and the natural world, but also those with a concern for the future of the planet.

Huw Lewis-Jones’s expert authorship and curation celebrates extraordinary images by brilliant photographers, but also allows us to understand why people have photographed animals at different points in history and what it means in the present. Why We Photograph Animals is deliberately not a conventional history of wildlife photography. It’s an exploration of the animal in photography. It speaks to our ongoing desire to look at animals; to understand, misunderstand and appreciate them; to use and abuse them; to neglect or come to value and protect them.


'Brings together the world’s wildest animal photography … gets up close and personal with big beasts, bramblings and a ‘water bear’ less than half a centimetre long'
Sunday Times

'An enlightening and thought-provoking book that every nature photographer should own'
Outdoor Photography

'Few books have treated us to the sheer range of visual spectacle that we find in Why We Photograph Animals. This book is an end-to-end, caught-on-the-wing or cunningly posed delight'

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 24.2 x 19.0 cm

Extent: 336 pp

Illustrations: 278

Publication date: 14 March 2024

ISBN: 9780500022726

About the Author

Huw Lewis-Jones is a historian of exploration, photography, and the environment, with a PhD from the University of Cambridge. He is an award-winning author and photo editor whose books include Archipelago: An Atlas of Imagined Islands, Explorers’ Sketchbooks, Imagining the Arctic, Face to Face: Ocean Portraits, The Writer’s Map, The Conquest of Everest and The Sea Journal.