by Tui de Roy
Tui de Roy was one year old when she was taken to the Galápagos islands by her parents who were seeking a warm place to live a self-sufficient life. She grew up there, she tamed the herons and finches as playmates, the mangroves were her playgrounds, marine iguanas and blue footed boobies her companions, frigate birds and Galapagos hawks circled above her, and seals and sea lions played on the rocky shores. While other children were exploring cities, she walked across the arid volcanic cones, and marvelled at the giant tortoises she met.
When she was eleven she borrowed her father’s camera and began to record her surroundings, and this extraordinary book gives us the record of 50 years of her photos.
The pictures are accompanied by a narrative that explains what is happening in the photos and makes the book far more than just a collection of birds and landscapes. She gives us lessons in ecology and the inter-dependence of species, both on land and under the sea.
Of particular interest are the photos taken from the same vantage point 50 years apart, showing the changes that have taken place, some as a result of natural processes, but some showing the changes that introduced species have made.
Tui de Roy seems equally at home in the water as above it, and some of the best photos are taken beneath the surface. Her encounters with whales, her fruitless attempts to capture a booby at the moment of transition from mastery of the air to mastery of the water (1/2000 of a second) which were not fast enough, her patience following an ancient iguana called Abeulo, for days at a time – all show her love for the animals and her mastery of photography. In the case of the iguana, Tui was cut, grazed and battered by the surf and rocks, but for Abeulo it was part of his daily life and had been for decades.
This is a beautifully presented book, one I am proud to own and will refer to again and again. I consider it would be a marvellous gift for a lover of nature or photography.
The only criticism I have is that I would have liked a map included, because each photo mentions the name of the island it is taken on and I had to open a map on my iPad to follow along. I felt it was important to do this as it was the variation between animals and birds on different islands that was a major factor in Charles Darwin arriving at his theory of evolution.
Author: Tui de Roy
Publisher: Bateman Books