Menagerie by Sharon Montrose is one of those quirky little books that you can't help but pick up and look through. Montrose is a sought after photographer of - you guessed it - animals.
She has assembled a collection of photos in Menagerie that somehow mimic a photo album you might pull out to show off your family. The animals seem almost like they have posed in a human manner. Their faces and body language seem to mimic human qualities and in many they seem to be looking straight at us (and the photographer)
The portrait of the slumped bear reminded me so much of a tired man after a hard day's labour. The shot of the two geese brought to mind two neighbours gossiping by the back fence. The photos of 'baby' animals reminded me of those taken by an indulgent parent. I quite liked the row of 'infant' portraits. I can't say I enjoyed the snakes or reptiles as much! Montrose has a real eye, that's for sure. The close ups of some of the wild animals, such as the fox, and the detailed shot of the flamingo feathers were quite stunning.
Many of the shots were framed or hung in unique ways. While some pictures had accompanying phrases, I almost felt like I wanted more...a bit of a essay or explanation of the photographer's intent.
Menagerie is a unique photo book. Unfortunately, the size and layout of the book meant that many photos were cut in half across two pages. A larger coffee table size would have been more friendly to the photographer's work. Or even going with a landscape layout rather than portrait.
That being said, if you're not familiar with Montrose's work, this is a wonderful little book to start with. Or have a peek inside now. Thanks to IT Books for the review copy.