For more than three decades Frans de Waal, the author of best-sellers such as Chimpanzee Politics and Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape, has studied monkeys and apes in zoos, research parks, and field settings. Photographing his subjects over the years, de Waal has compiled a unique family album of our closest animal relatives. To capture the social life of primates, and their natural communication, requires intimate knowledge, which is abundantly present here, in the work of one of the world's foremost primatologists. Culled from the thousands of images de Waal has taken, these photographs capture social interaction in bonobos, chimpanzees, capuchin monkeys, baboons, and macaques showing the subtle gestures, expressions, and movements that elude most nature photographers or casual observers.
De Waal supplies extended captions discussing each photograph, offering descriptions that range from personal observations and impressions to professional interpretation. The result is a view of our primate family that is both intensely moving and personal, also richly evocative of all that science can tell us of primate society. In his introduction, de Waal elaborates on his work, his mission in this volume, and the particular challenges of animal action photography.
Frans de Waal is C. H. Candler Professor of Psychology at Emory University and Director of the Living Links Center for the Advanced Study of Ape and Human Evolution at the Yerkes Primate Center in Atlanta. His many books include The Ape and the Sushi Master: Cultural Reflections by a Primatologist (2001), Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals (1996), and Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape (California, 1997).
"For decades, acclaimed primatologist Frans de Waal has told us in words about other primates and why their behavior is so integral to understanding who we are. With My Family Album he now gives us a visual record of these animals and shows so clearly that they have personality, emotion, intelligence and sophisticated relationships. In other words, they look just like us!"—Meredith Small, author of Kids: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way we Raise Young Children
"This unusual collection of images reinforces the power of photography to express the complex relationship between humans and other primates. Frans de Waal's astute observations and provocative ideas are a perfect match with his insightful portraits. They reveal the intimacy of his understanding of primates and the kinship we all share with them." —Frans Lanting, author/photographer, Eye to Eye: Intimate Encounters with the Animal World
"People who study primates for a living are like any other academics; they learn more and more about less and less, relish the minutia, get into obscure academic squabbles. Yet, when all that is stripped away, the lure of primatology is in just looking at these animals, reveling in that shock of relatedness. In My Family Album, Frans de Waal, one of the most distinguished and creative primatologists in the world, takes us through his primatological family album, presenting and explaining photographs of primates going about their behaviors. Arresting photographs, wonderful stories and painlessly, in passing, a tremendous amount of education about primate social behavior. This is a terrific, unique book."—Robert Sapolsky, author of A Primate's Memoir
"Combining his own collection of sharp, intensely dramatic photographs with crisp and insightful commentary, renowned primatologist Frans de Waal reveals our closest relatives in all their surprising complexity, ultimately to suggest this single, simple truth: We are not alone. My Family Album is a gentle, wonderful book that shows and tells what the excitement of primate-watching is all about."—Dale Peterson, author of Eating Apes
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