For our fifteenth post in the PhotoTalk series we bring you the amazing wildlife work of Frans Lanting. This image was the cover of a book called OKAVANGO – Africa’s Last Eden, I think it was first published in 1993. Frans Lanting is a well-known photographer who was actually the Photographer-in-residence for the National Geographic Society for a number of years.
His wildlife photographs has resulted in him being considered one of the great nature photographers of our time. His works have captured and documented wildlife and our relationship with nature across the globe, from Africa, to the Amazon to Antarctica.
In an interview back in 2015 regarding one of his Exhibitions, when discussing smartphones, apps and mobile photography, he mentioned something that struck me: “What it does to the more deliberate kinds of photography, of which this exhibition is a result—hopefully it’ll stimulate a small percentage of the people who start with this to consider taking the next step from taking pictures to making photographs.”
These days, everyone can “take a picture”, but it takes some amount of deliberate consideration and a different approach to actually “ Make a photograph” – and looking at his amazing range of wildlife photographs, it is obvious that he has a point, we can all point our cameras at an animal or nature scene, but to come away with a “ photograph” we need to compose correctly, and develop a relationship with the scene/subject that goes beyond just seeing it through the lens. Again in his words: “If you don’t understand what you are photographing, you are just looking at the surface of things.”
Originally published to the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook Group on May6th 2020, you can see the original comments or discussion on that post.
I’ve always admired those folks who do wildlife photography, in Guyana its mostly Bird Photography, but they do get in quite a bit of wildlife too. For local art competitions and exhibitions its been hard for these photos to break into the top where they are considered art.
My view on this has always been that the photographers approach has a lot to do with it. Many Bird Photographers are concentrating on catching the Bird, whether at rest or in flight, its not an easy task to get a great shot of the bird; what results most times are what I consider Bird Portraits, again, excellent work, but often not considered “art” by many.
I was discussing this with an artist and one of the things I came away from that conversation with was that the resulting photographs often lacked other compositional elements related to “story-telling”.
I wanted to mention two “Bird” photographs that, in my opinion, broke through that barrier and by themselves speak volumes. Kester Clarke’s image gives not only action in a still frame, but also offers drama, the shallow depth of field, the sharp details in the birds with the bit of motion blur on the wings makes it an instant pleaser. Kwesi Isles’ image uses subtle background detail with sharp foreground detail in the “post” to add to the main subject in flight, putting it in greyscale lets the viewer see all of this while being undistracted by colour, I haven’t seen the coloured version, but I believe that the background colour would have diminished the clarity seen in the black and white version.
As we make our way onto a structured format for the “article” types of ideas for the Guyana Photographers’ Group, we are pleased to have Ryan Beharry give us his story behind the “Hummingbird” shot that is in the Wildlife album on the group here.
Ryan has graciously consented to write it, and we are happy to give you the Story behind the Photo.
I was on a camping trip with my family at the intermediate savannah, Berbice, Guyana. We were liming and making jokes when I saw a humming bird fly across and went into the bushes. Armed with my camera and tripod I followed in the direction it flew. Continue reading →