They may wear uniforms, but they're still individuals

PENGUIN By Frans Lanting Taschen

A coffee-table book devoted to one animal runs the risk of being a "one-look book." "Penguin" is much more than that. In this case, the subjects, many varieties of these Antarctic birds photographed in their natural habitat, deserve repeated examinations.

These 110 color photographs are the result of three Antarctic expeditions by photographer and naturalist Frans Lanting. His method is to camp among the penguins until his presence is accepted by the birds before photographing them. The process yields images that transform these most uniform of animals into animated individuals and families. His photography is both enlightening and entertaining. The penguins are shown in all stages of life. Their varied activities change the penguins from tuxedoed clones into individuals. They defend their nests, recognize one another among the thousands, nurture their young, and display their own personalities. Lanting's technique is first rate, the photographs are obviously the result of unending perseverance, and the accompanying text is supportive but not intrusive.

* Phelippe Salazar is on the Monitor's photography staff.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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