Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Book Review of Bear Portraits by Jill Greenberg

At the bear minimum, I would have to say that this book is genius.
- Ashton Kutcher, actor/producer

This is not your father's book of bear photos.
- Seth MacFarlane, Actor, Comedian, creator of The Family Guy

Bear Portraits

Ever since I was a child, I've been fascinated by "wild animals." Bears were among my special favorites. But the images that I had of bears were from wild life shows - usually grizzlies catching fish with their paws or koola bears in trees, pandas surrounded by bamboo in a zoo or polar bears on ice - or from cartoons. Even the live bears that I'd peered at in zoos were some distance away. Jill Greenberg's Bear Portraits gives the unique opportunity to study bears' faces at close range.

In Bear Portraits, Jill Greenberg shares photos of 12 very different bears - a Polar Bear, a European Brown Bear, a Russian Brown Bear, several Kodiak Bears, a Grizzly Bear, a Black Bear. All these bears had been raised in captivity and learned to view their owners as their family. The bears were accustomed to people and filming. These deadly bears were able to sit, stand and growl silently on cue. The close shots and artificial lighting gives us a chance to see close up the different faces of these amazing bears.

These are the twelve bears that you'll meet in Jill Greenberg's Bear Portraits:
(1) Agee, a polar bear weighing 800 pounds at a height of 7 feet whose credits include Mystery, Alaska, and Out Cold;
(2) Ali Oop, a Kodiak Bear weighing 1,400 pounds at a height of over 8 feet whose credits include Grizzly Falls, Wild America, Dr. Doolittle 2, and The Last Trapper;
(3) Amos, a 4 month old European Brown Bear weighing 40 pounds and had been on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno;
(4) Barney, a Kodiak Bear weighing 1,000 pounds at a height of 7.5 feet whose credits include Anchorman, Grizzly Falls and Shoebox Zoo;
(5) Betty, a Kodiak Bear weighing 1,000 pounds at a height of 7 feet and whose credits include Dr. Doolittle 2 and Anchorman;
(6) Bonkers, a Black Bear weighing 600 pounds at a height of over 6 feet and whose credits include Brokeback Mountain, The Sopranos, Gentle Ben 1 & 2;
(7) Brett, a Black Bear cub, weighing 12 pounds at a height of 1 foot on all fours and 30 inches on his hind legs;
(8) Cheyenne, a Russian Brown Bear weighing 180 pounds at a height of 5 feet whose credits include The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Ellen DeGeneres Show;
(9) Koda, a Grizzly Bear weighing 1,600 pounds at a height of 9 feet and whose credits included Grizzly Rage, Snow Dogs, Kevin of the North, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer;
(10) Max, a Black Bear weighing over 400 pounds at a height of six feet and whose credits include Tin Man, Dead Like Me, Dreamcatcher, and Animal Miracles;
(11) Ursula, a Kodiak Bear weighing 850 pounds at a height of 7 feet and whose credits include Anchorman, True Heart, Grizzly Falls, Wild America; and
(12) Whopper, a Kodiak Bear, weighing 1,000 pounds at a height of 7 feet and whose credits include Air Bud 2, Grizzly Falls, Anchorman, Return to Grizzly Mountain and The Last Trapper.

Bear Portraits is a fascinating book of photographs that will surely bring much enjoyment to children and adults alike.

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (November 3, 2009), 104 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
Jill Greenberg regularly shoots advertising and celebrity portrait photography for such clients as Dreamworks, Sony Pictures, Epson, Entertainment Weekly, and GQ. She is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. Her photographs of monkeys, dogs, lemurs, and -of course - bears were the face of a large-scale Animal Planet ad campaign featured on television and billboards and in New York City subway cars. Jill resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Robert, and two children.

A big thanks to Anna and Hatchette Book Group for this review opportunity!

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