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John Aitchison reveals what happens behind the scenes and beyond the camera. He explains the practicalities and challenges of the filming process, and the problems of survival in perilous places. He records touching moments and dramatic incidents, some ending in success, others desperately sad. There are times when a hunted animal triumphs against the odds, and others when, in spite of preparation for every outcome, disaster strikes. And, as the author shows in several incidents that combine nail-biting tension with hair-raising hilarity, disaster can strike for film-makers too.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-04-18
- Reviewer: Staff
Aitchison, whose cinematography awards include an Emmy and a BAFTA, writes that filming wildlife in its tooth-and-claw glory reveals the very real struggle between humankind and the environment. To open this collection of wonderfully descriptive essays, he recounts the time he documented young albatrosses as they struggled to avoid the gaping maws of cruising sharks. Tempting though it was to take sides in this conflict, Aitchison writes that it was far more disturbing to see dead albatross chicks that had choked to death on plastic refuse. "The most important choice is not whether we prefer predators or prey," he writes, "it's whether we are on nature's side or against it: whether we want the shark and the albatross, or neither." Aitchison weaves this narrative thread through 14 chapters. His prose is clear and poetic as he describes running with wolf packs in Yellowstone National Park, witnessing a whale feeding frenzy in Alaska's northern sea, and encountering endangered tigers in India's dense forests, among other adventures around the globe. Throughout, Aitchison notes that observing wildlife highlights the precariousness of the natural world. This book will interest those drawn to filmmaking as well as to wildlife and the environment. (May)