If you ask most people what their favourite animal is, they’d be able to tell you in a heartbeat. It may be a wild animal that they admire for their beauty, fierceness or playfulness. It may be an animal that they have only ever seen on television or at the zoo, and which they would one day love the opportunity to see in person. It may be a creature that they spend a lot of time with, be it through their profession or as a pet.
Whatever the case, there are many coffee table books around that celebrate the popularity of a variety of animals. These books are usually full of large colour photographs of the animal in their natural habitat and feature plenty of insightful information. Generally about wild creatures, they make fantastic gifts for people who adore the animal in question.
But there aren’t as many books available when it comes to domesticated animals. Sure, there are a few guides available to help you care for your dog or horse, but there aren’t many around that celebrate different breeds and provide professionally shot portraits of each type.
That is why the Beautiful series is so wonderful- written and photographed by various people, they each focus on a different domesticated animal (with the exception of the owl one, being that it is a wild bird). Each book has over 35 professional photos of different breeds from around the world, as well as detailed charts that feature all the important and essential information you’d need to know about each- their origin, size, features, use, and related breeds. There are glossaries, associations and shows relevant to each animal listed in the back of the books (the owl one has a list of charities and sanctuaries), as well as brief histories on each of the creatures mentioned. There are also candid photos from various agricultural shows at the back of each book, to offset the professionalism of the portraits.
These books are beautifully presented – each page is a pale olive green and white, following a set format- and the clean muted colours seem to highlight each photo just that little bit more. Despite being produced by different authors and photographers, the style stays consistent throughout the series. These books would make a lovely addition to any animal-lovers bookshelf.
The series (in no particular order):
Beautiful Cows – Portraits of champion breeds by Val
Porter, photographed by Jeremy Hopley & Andrew Perris
Beautiful Ducks – Portraits of champion breeds by Liz Wright, photographed by Andrew Perris
Beautiful Dogs – Portraits of classic breeds by Carolyn Menteith, photographed by Andrew Perris
Beautiful Sheep – Portraits of champion breeds by Kathryn Dun, photographed by Paul Farnham
Beautiful Owls – Portraits of arresting species by Marianne Taylor, photographed by Andrew Perris
Beautiful Chickens – Portraits of champion breeds by Christie Aschwanden, photographed by Andrew Perris
Beautiful Horses – Portraits of champion breeds by Liz Wright, photographed by Andrew Perris
Beautiful Pigs – Portraits of fine breeds by Andy Case, photographed by Andrew Perris