Butterflies in Flight

Roger Camp, Author Thames & Hudson $27.5 (1p) ISBN 978-0-500-51090-2
This striking evergreen volume, when removed from its equally evergreen slipcase, opens to reveal shiny, black accordion-fold pages-more than 70 feet of them-over which nearly 300 species of butterflies flit and flutter in full digitally-enhanced color and detail. To achieve such startling verisimilitude, Camp captured butterflies around the world and--believe it or not--placed them on a scanner, pulled up their likenesses on screen and essentially photoshopped them into shape. (What would Nabokov, that old moth-chaser, think?) Too limited in informative text for the avid lepidopterist or even the amateur with a winged creature in his net (there is no discussion of specimens or habitat, or indeed, of anything at all), this is, instead, an art book of nature: ""marrying beauty with science,"" Camp writes, was his sole intention. And the butterflies do shine brilliantly: their colors-the acid green of Ornithoptera p. priamus, the scarlet and blue color blocks of Agrias claudina--are so vivid as to be nearly shocking. Camp's book may not serve a clear purpose, but it's undeniably lovely to look at.
Reviewed on: 10/01/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
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