‘Biophilia’ Celebrates Colorful Creatures, Icky and Otherwise

Dana Jennings in The New York Times:

BioChristopher Marley’s “Biophilia” is much more than a sumptuous coffee-table pleasure. It is also an elegant manifesto meant to nudge us off our couches and easy chairs and out the door. “It is clear to me that we are designed to experience as much of the natural world as possible with all five of our senses,” Mr. Marley writes. And later: “Without meaningful interactions with nature, we begin to deteriorate emotionally and spiritually.” “Biophilia” offers hundreds of spectacular color images of insects, sea creatures, reptiles, birds and fossils and minerals (the last perhaps to remind us that we, too, eventually return to dust). Mr. Marley, an artist, designer and photographer who divides his time between Oregon and Malaysia, says that his “objective is to inspire people to see natural artifacts with fresh eyes.” Preserved specimens are his medium. “Biophilia” is a praise song to all of those lovely and often exotic fellow travelers whom at best we ignore and at worst thoughtlessly kill. It also rightly and subtly scolds us, insists that we are somehow less human when we’re too distracted and dazed by our digital semi-lives.

Though Mr. Marley professes passion for all of nature, it is clear that insects are his purest animal love; his first book, “Pheromone” (2008), focused only on them. “They range in color, size, shape, texture and behavior like no other creatures,” Mr. Marley writes of insects, adding, “If the work I do provides no other benefit than to kindle a new appreciation of insects (and any other creatures that evoke trepidation in the human heart), that is enough for me.”

More here.