Published back in March in the U.K. (left) and in September in the U.S. (right), Life by Lennart Nilsson is a phenomenal book. Born in Sweden in 1922, Nilsson is regarded as one of the foremost scientific photographers ever, and looking through the 300 or so pages in Life it's easy to see why.
The heavyweight book is split into two parts. The first charts the creation of life, and features incredibly detailed pictures of the components and mechanisms that make all of us. Photographs of the male hormone testosterone look like alien, multicolored gems, while what looks like a beautiful coral reef is in fact a close-up of the Fallopian tube. Nilsson broke new ground in the 1960s with his images from inside the womb, and the equivalent pictures featured here are still breathtaking.
The second part of the book deals with life after after birth. The body's main organs are all minutely investigated, as are the senses. Far more uncomfortable to look at, but no less interesting, are the images of things that can kill us. A pox virus looks truly ugly while HIV spreading over a white blood cell is nothing if not ominous.
You can get Life from either Amazon U.S..
Added: December 2006