Book Review: Serengeti Spy

January 7, 2013  By: Gretchen

There is no shortage of beautiful photographic works focused on the Serengeti ecosystem, found in  Tanzania and Kenya.  It’s likely due to the fact that there is no shortage of subjects to provide endless numbers of gorgeous and compelling photos.  As a result, we make time to look at all of them; every one is worthy of some attention.  Anup Shah has used a new angle to capture a fresh look at the myriad wonders of east Africa in his new book, Serengeti Spy – Views from a Hidden Camera on the Plains of East Africa.

For 15 years, Shah has spent a few months annually making photographs in east Africa.  To create the photos in Serengeti Spy, he invented a housing to disguise his camera (or 5  of his cameras, as they sometimes were at great hazard and were destroyed during their deployment) with grass, mud and elephant dung.  He then outfitted the remote camera with a video feed and sat nearly hundred meters away in a vehicle watching the video feed until he saw the perfect moment to capture a photograph.  He had to figure out where to put the camera in the first place, then use his hard-won knowledge to predict the animals movement.

The resulting images are from an perspective that we will never enjoy – that of the hunter-gatherer, or of other animals. The photos are arranged by season, and each contains a note from Shah on animal behavior or the moment of the photograph itself.  It is full of unexpected angles and wonders.

If you think you’ve seen the wildlife of the Serengeti – think again.  Serengeti Spy will take you there for the first time once more.