How lucky was I to meet Art Wolfe! This man is the best wildlife photographer in the world. I consider myself so privileged to hear him speak when he was at the Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour on Friday night. He was sponsored by Denis Glennon who does wildlife photography tours to Africa and elsewhere.
Art knocked my socks off with his presentation. Called “Between Heaven and Earth” the theme of his talk was the Himalayas, where he started as an Everest expedition photographer in the ’70s. It ended with the Kumbh Mela festival where millions upon millions of people gather to bathe in the Ganges.
He grabbed my attention right from the beginning with a slideshow that transitioned from stills to video and back again. He seems to use his full frame Canon for the videos but they were so artfully intertwined with the stills that I was lost in the flow of heart-stopping images. How could anyone make clouds look so beautiful! The music, which seemed to be all original compositions, took you in even deeper.
His talk followed his career first as a climbing instructor, then as a painter, and eventually a photographer. I was thrilled to be taken behind the scenes on a tiger hunt. He explained how the mahout and his elephant find the tiger in the dappled jungle of Bengal, how he wasn’t worried about the contrasting light, nor that the tiger stayed hidden behind bamboo. Seeing him work like that taught me a lot about patience and acceptance.
Art is still doing wildlife photography but is also devoting himself to recording cultures. He says, “The cultural work has as an important value to me simply because cultures are changing as fast as wildlife is being decimated in certain areas and so there’s an importance to record what might not exist into the future.”
What a prince of a conservation photographer! If you’re in Melbourne or Perth you still have a chance to see him or do a workshop. Go to http://denisglennon.com/art-wolfe-in-australia-2012/