Life Behind Bars Vol. I

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In Life Behind Bars Vol. 1, author, photographer, and first-time documentary filmmaker Julian Starks takes readers on an unforgettable journey through the wild to explore the dangers that lurk for some of the most magnificent creatures on earth. Through countless photographs and thoughtful words, he allows readers a rare glimpse into what makes surviving in the wild a sometimes impossible task. He views sanctuaries as “a necessary evil” in order to preserve the few that remain of the vulnerable, threatened, and endangered species. In captivity, they can be protected from poachers who want their extravagant pelts to sell, their bones to use in traditional Asian medicine, and their sacred tusks for ivory. They can also be shielded from unmitigated abuse and suffering. Habitat loss due to deforestation, increased human populations and settlement, and the devastating effects of climate change pose further danger to the livelihood of a startling number of wildlife. Gorillas, for example, he writes, have decreased in population over the last three generations, each one spanning 22 years, by an unsettling 80%, landing them in the critically endangered category. It’s thought that approximately 180 or fewer Marcgrave capuchin monkeys remain in the wild, posing a significant threat to the survival of their kind. Even the African lion population, according to Starks, has decreased over the past 21 years by 43%, causing them to be considered among the vulnerable population. A considerable amount of research is laced through the pages of the text to support his plea that all “must love and keep safe all the beautiful creatures in this world,” even if that means holding them behind the walls of captivity for the betterment of their species.

This is the first of Stark’s fine art photographic studies and is masterfully written. It’s crafted with distinct originality. The photographs included capture animals in unique form: two cheetahs running with eight paws off the ground simultaneously, a male and female lion intimately standing together under a brilliant sunset, a gorilla elevating her middle finger to showcase her displeasure with being photographed, and a gorgeous giraffe gently resting its chin on the neck of another.

The vast area of coverage, from North and South America to Asia and the arctic regions of the earth, is impressive. The extensive travel and well-documented research that went into the makings of this amazing volume are unquestionable. The value and overall quality of the book is elevated considerably as a result. Further, the classification system used throughout to assign risk levels to those featured is helpful in outlining the data. It also makes the information more comprehensible to the layman. Though Life Behind Bars Vol. 1 is targeted to an adult audience; however, older children, teens, and young adults will find it both fascinating and thought-provoking. Its scope and presentation will appeal to multiple generations. Additionally, it’s an ideal text, with its gorgeous photographs and enticing cover, for a coffee table centerpiece. It’s likely to become a conversation starter and a family treasure.

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Star Count /5
Page Count
Publish Date 10-Apr-2020
ISBN Buy this Book
Category Architecture & Photography


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