A lilting and lamenting ode to Nature, lovingly and poignantly laid bare for us, the readers; each quote, each caption and each beautiful photograph searingly honest and forcing us to confront the emotion - for the power of this book is how it makes the reader feel, and the clarity and realisation it brings.
Internationally-awarded and renowned Johnathan and Angela Scott have created a powerful work in Sacred Nature.
Canon Ambassadors Jonathan and Angela Scott are award-winning wildlife photographers and authors who live in Kenya. The only couple to have won the overall award in the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition as individuals, they have also written and illustrated 30 books, including best-selling safari guides to East African animals and birds, and acclaimed children’s titles for the Collins Big Cat series.
Angela was born in Alexandria in Egypt and from the age of four lived in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. The great Serengeti National Park was the scene of happy days on safari with her family, stimulating her lifelong love affair with photography. Jonathan first set eyes on the Mara-Serengeti while travelling overland through Africa in 1974. This was the savannah Africa depicted in Born Free and Serengeti Shall Not Die, films and books he had marvelled at as a child in England. In 1977 he came to live permanently in the Maasai Mara, dedicating his life to documenting the lives of its wild inhabitants.
Jonathan and Angela were married in the Mara in 1992, and from 1996 to 2008 worked on the hugely popular TV series Big Cat Diary, with Jonathan as co- presenter and Angela as production stills photographer and game spotter. They now divide their time between their home in the leafy Nairobi suburb of Langata, overlooking the beautiful Ngong Hills, and a stone cottage in Marsh Pride territory at Governor’s Camp in the Mara. As well as East Africa, they love to explore the dramatic landscape of Namibia - another Land of Endless Space featured in Sacred Nature.
Jonathan and Angela are patrons and ambassadors for a number of conservation organisations including the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia, the Kenya Wildlife Trust’s Mara Cheetah Project, the Colobus Organisation, Galapagos Conservation Trust and the Bishop Simeon Trust.
National Geographic Review:
Over the years there has been a plethora of sumptuously printed coffee table books featuring memorable images of Africa’s iconic wildlife. While very few of these have disappointed (such is the extraordinary and ever-improving standard of wildlife photography in the digital era), it is rare for one title to stand out above all others. Sacred Nature is one such rarity. This may be Jonathan and Angela Scott’s 30th book, but it is without doubt their magnum opus.
The Scotts have been firmly established at the top of their field for decades, during which time the public has grown accustomed to witnessing their spectacular work in print and on screen (through BBC TV’s hugely popular Big Cat Diary), but this book differs in many ways to any of their previous efforts. Sacred Nature is primarily Angela’s vision and most of the photographs are hers. Within its 288 pages are an extraordinary mix of images and juxtapositions: piercing-eyed predators on one page, a group of tribal elders the next; studies of passive expression in close-up, followed by freeze-frames of action from a distance.
Throughout, colour and black & white interweave seamlessly, the prints given ample space and each of the ten chapters preceded by a short essay setting the theme and tone of the pictures to follow.
There are many images that will linger in the memory (and as you would expect given the setting, the big cats play a major part in the selection), but the real surprise is the choice of quotes from luminaries as disparate as Byron and Socrates. Each has been carefully chosen and placed by Sacred Nature’s designer, David John Scott (Jonathan and Angela’s son), to underscore the essential message of the book. This is summed up brilliantly by one quote in particular, from Frank Lloyd Wright: ‘I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.’
This review was published in the November 2016 edition of Geographical magazine.
Sacred Nature exquisitely captures the essence of a disappearing wild life world. Thought and care have been taken with photograph selection, artistic layout and creating an aura of intimacy. The message from Angela & Jonathan is tangible in their love of the bush and the animals. They also integrate the importance of the indigenous people to the future of the bush. Definitely a book worth having in one’s library.