STALKING BIG GAME WITH A CAMERA IN EQUATORIAL AFRICA. With a Preface by Sir Sidney F. Harmer...Director of the British Museum (Nat. Hist.)

STALKING BIG GAME WITH A CAMERA IN EQUATORIAL AFRICA. With a Preface by Sir Sidney F. Harmer...Director of the British Museum (Nat. Hist.)

(New York: The Century Co., 1924).

FIRST EDITION, IMPERIAL FOLIO, SIGNED AND NUMBERED, IN THE PUBLISHER'S BEST BINDING, RARE. A truly stupendous book. "[It] has been my desire," Maxwell states in his introduction, "to secure photographic records of incidents in big game hunting, incidents such as are found in the writings of well-known hunters, and to illustrate these experiences by actual photographs wherever and whenever fortune has turned my way, and given me opportunities to obtain an accurate shot with the camera instead of the rifle."
Maxwell pays his respects to C. G. Schillings and A. Radclyffe Dugmore, pioneers in the field of big game photography. But while these gentlemen attempted to capture game animals in their natural setting, neither was able to capture them with enough detail to satisfy the naturalists. In order to accomplish this Maxwell tried to use a telephoto lens as little as possible and relied primarily on an ordinary lens with a focal length of six to ten inches, a habit which necessitated close proximity to the animals in order to obtain the best shot. The results are stunning. Many of the photos depict animals staring into the camera with tense suspicion, in graceful motion as they flee, or actually charging the camera (and being dropped by bullets when necessary).
Almost all these photos are quite artfully composed, the difficulty of which, under the circumstances, speaks highly of Maxwell's sense of aesthetics and skill as a photographer. One can browse this book and rejoice that photogravure was the method of choice for photo reproduction at the time, as it gives these pictures an almost ghostly beauty that echoes the fate of the animals in subsequent years.
The book also includes an introductory chapter on "A Camera Huntsman's Equipment" and an appendix on the natural history of the elephant and "Primeval Man and the Pleistocene 'elephas.'"
Now considered rare in the extra decorated binding. Item #29664

First edition, one of only 568 copies (550 for sale) numbered and signed by Maxwell. With 113 plates in photogravure after photographs by the author and a color map. Laid in a pocket at the rear is a 4-page folding reproduction of the frontispiece, which is a marvelous close-up photograph of half a dozen advancing elephants. Imperial folio, publisher's best binding of original navy cloth lettered in gilt on the spine and cover, and additionally decorated with large gilt pictorial devices on the spine panel and upper cover, t.e.g. xxii, 202. A fine copy of the book, clean and tight with virtually no fading to the navy blue cloth and only the mildest of wear to the extremities, some light but only occasional foxing as is typical with the paper.

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Price: $1,100.00