Pros: Hysterical and amazing photographs that will inspire and wow you
Rating: 5 out of 5
Review copy courtesy of The Countryman Press.
Hip-Hop Hares and Other Moments of Epic Silliness is a collection of 71 “Parting Shot” photographs from Outside Magazine. As Bill Vaughn explains in his introduction, these photographs are deliberately presented without explanatory information (other than who took them and where) so that they can serve as conversation-starters. They’re the beginning of the story rather than the end.
Some of these photographs are hilarious. For example, there’s the titular photo of two hares apparently high-fiving each other in the snow. A black-and-white photo informs us that the exit to “Boring” can be found one mile down the road. A confused eagle stares down at a wooden woodpecker, and another predatory bird is about to make off with a poor, defenseless stuffed bunny toy. Many of the more entertaining photos just have to be seen to be believed; these are the kind of moments I imagine many photographers live to capture.
Other photos are quite magical in nature. Some trick of perspective (or just a bit of luck in catching someone at exactly the right moment) shows a person apparently in arms-spread flight. A car in a wildlife preserve is surrounded by relaxed lions. A man in Nevada appears to stand on the moon while one in California apparently jumps over it.
Sometimes you need to look carefully to catch the daredevils at work, because they aren’t always found in expected places. The first time I looked at one photograph I missed the bicyclist riding vertically along the wall. Of course, there’s the woman doing a flip out of a white water raft in the middle of the rapids. You might almost imagine it was deliberate, if not for the other bits of detritus flying out with her (hope someone managed to retrieve that wallet!).
Then there’s the absurd, such as the sign in Wyoming that warns skiers “Going beyond this point may result in death and/or loss of skiing privileges!” Yeah, umm, I’m betting they’re right that death will also result in loss of skiing privileges.
This is a delightful book. Every other page you’ll find yourself turning to a friend or family member and urging them to look at a new and illuminating image. From the wacky to the wondrous, there’s definitely something in here for everyone. Not only do these photos show us the moments we might never be lucky enough to see ourselves, but they also remind us to look at the world around us in new ways. After all, many of the mysteries in these photos are a product of the photographer’s perspective, and that’s incredibly inspirational.