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Egg & Nest

Egg & Nest

Rosamond Purcell, Linnea S. Hall, René Corado

ISBN 9780674031722

Publication date: 10/15/2008

The beauty of the robin’s egg is not lost on the child who discovers the nest, nor on the collector of nature’s marvels. Such instances of wonder find fitting expression in the photographs of Rosamond Purcell, whose work captures the intricacy of nests and the aesthetic perfection of bird eggs. Mining the ornithological treasures of the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, Purcell produces pictures as lovely and various as the artifacts she photographs. The dusky blue egg of an emu becomes a planet. A woodpecker’s nest bears an uncanny resemblance to a wooden shoe. A resourceful rock dove weaves together scrap metal and spent fireworks. A dreamscape of dancing monkeys emerges from the calligraphic markings of a murre egg.

Alongside Purcell’s photographs, Linnea Hall and René Corado offer an engaging history of egg collecting, the provenance of the specimens in the photographs, and the biology, conservation, and ecology of the birds that produced them. They highlight the scientific value that eggs and nest hold for understanding and conserving birds in the wild, as well as the aesthetic charge they carry for us.

How has evolution shaped the egg or directed the design of the nest? How do the photographs convey such infinitesimal and yet momentous happenstance? The objects in Egg & Nest are specimens of natural history, and in Purcell’s renderings, they are also the most natural art.

Praise

  • What kind of genius is Rosamond Purcell? Is she an artist? A scholar? A documentarian? A living cabinet of wonders? Her originality defies category, as does her newest triumph, Egg & Nest. Crack its shell.

    —Jonathan Safran Foer

Authors

  • Rosamond Purcell is a world-renowned photographer and the author of a number of books, including Owl’s Head and Bookworm.
  • Linnea S. Hall is the Executive Director of the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology in Camarillo, California.
  • René Corado is Collections Manager of the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology in Camarillo, California.
  • Bernd Heinrich is Professor Emeritus of Biology at the University of Vermont. He has written several memoirs of his life in science and nature, including One Man’s Owl, Ravens in Winter, and A Year in the Maine Woods, which won the 1995 Rutstrum Authors’ Award for Literary Excellence.

Book Details

  • 232 pages
  • 10-1/4 x 10 inches
  • Belknap Press
  • Introduction by Bernd Heinrich

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