There are people who pick up National Geographic magazine to enjoy both text and photography. And there are people who turn pages just to see the marvelous photos.

 

I grew up as one of the latter. My interest in photography most likely was influenced by the extraordinary images and art the National Geographic Society has published for the past 130 years.

 

Now there is a book that celebrates that photography and art: “The Splendor of Birds.” Text is by Margaret Herbert Howell. Photos are from the files, arranged chronologically, 1888 to 2018, and often paired, old photos and new of the same species.

 

The work of 181 photographers and 10 artists is included in this 506-page book. Included are photos by Minnesotans Jim Brandenburg, Thomas Abercrombie (1930-2006), Paul Chesley, and Annie Griffiths.]

 

Over 300 species of birds are included.

 

At 10x12 inches, this could be called a coffee-table book. If left to the eyes of guests, however, it likely would become a serious distraction to whatever else the hosts had in mind. 

 

It is a beautiful piece of work, exactly what one would expect.

 

Hardcover, sewn binding, $75.

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