Alexandra Jacobs
November 07, 1997 AT 05:00 AM EST

He talks like a nature photographer, he walks like a nature photographer — that is, with incredible stealth — but what Dutch lensman Lanting is really all about is portraits. It’s easy enough to catch a southern elephant seal looking like a fat, contented little Yoda, to tease out the inherent cuteness factor of a snoozing lion cub quartet, or to dive deep, Sandra Boynton-style, into a wallowing mess of hippopotamuses. Making a deep, heartfelt connection with a bald eagle is another matter. In the world that Lanting inhabits, hugely and glossily depicted here, the most standoffish beasts seem like casual passers-by. He could even make a cockroach seem simpatico. A+

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