Art Wolfe

Photographs From The Edge by Art Wolfe with Rob Sheppard by Todd Henson

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Photographs from the Edge tells some of the stories behind many of the photographs Art Wolfe has created over the years. The subtitle of the book is A Master Photographer’s Insights On Capturing An Extraordinary World.

I love this book, and find it a perfect complement to Earth is My Witness: The Photography of Art Wolfe. Earth is My Witness is focused primarily on the photographs. Photographs from the Edge focuses more on the stories behind the photographs.

The book is organized by decade, showing Art’s work from the early 1980’s to more recent work just prior to the book’s publication in 2016. It is a collection of stories about Art’s experiences. Each section has about one page of story, along with one or more photographs. Additionally, each contains a paragraph about the nature of the photograph, and another with a photo tip relevant to that photo or experience. This edition is a nice hardcover book measuring approximately 7.5 x 10.25 inches with 280 pages.

Below are some sample pages from the book.

Photographs from the Edge  by Art Wolfe, pages 38-39, October 1990, Polar Bears, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.

Photographs from the Edge by Art Wolfe, pages 38-39, October 1990, Polar Bears, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.

Art says Polar Bears is a special image for him, depicting the bears coming together, communicating in a very gentle way, and with such a beautiful symmetry. This was the first time the image was used in a book.

Photographs from the Edge  by Art Wolfe, pages 46-47, November 1992, Emperor Penguins, Weddell Sea, Antarctica.

Photographs from the Edge by Art Wolfe, pages 46-47, November 1992, Emperor Penguins, Weddell Sea, Antarctica.

To create Emperor Penguins Art lay on his belly, letting him fill the frame with the penguins, eliminating anything distracting from the frame. He said one of the difficult things about shooting penguins was their curiosity. One minute he’s looking through the lens shooting a group of penguins and the next the entire frame goes white as a penguin comes right up to him, standing in front of the camera.

Photographs from the Edge  by Art Wolfe, pages 60-61, August 1994, Simbu Dancers, Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea.

Photographs from the Edge by Art Wolfe, pages 60-61, August 1994, Simbu Dancers, Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea.

For Simbu Dancers, Art tells how he approached these men who were preparing themselves for a celebration. He didn’t speak their language and was without an interpreter, but he boldly approached them and began arranging them into the abstract composition seen in the photo. He says it’s often best to be decisive. I suspect having the right kind of personality also helps.

Photographs from the Edge  by Art Wolfe, pages 66-67, October 1995, Les Aiguilles and Lac Blanc, Savoy Alps, France.

Photographs from the Edge by Art Wolfe, pages 66-67, October 1995, Les Aiguilles and Lac Blanc, Savoy Alps, France.

Les Aiguilles and Lac Blanc is such a beautiful photograph with a nice symmetry between the mountains and their reflections. Art describes the miserable weather they had to endure to be in the right place at the right time to create this image. He also talks of using a graduated neutral density filter to balance the exposure between the reflection and the mountains.

Photographs from the Edge  by Art Wolfe, pages 82-83, January 2001, Spiritual Journey, Ganges River, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Photographs from the Edge by Art Wolfe, pages 82-83, January 2001, Spiritual Journey, Ganges River, Uttar Pradesh, India.

I love the feeling of Spiritual Journey, a lone figure in their white washed boat, paddling towards the sunrise. Art was able to visualize this shot the night before he created it. Then, the next morning, he had this person pose in the boat while they waited for sunrise. But they needed to pull the boat onto mud to keep it still. The shutter speed was far too slow to have captured this image if the boat were floating on the moving river.

Photographs from the Edge  by Art Wolfe, pages 246-247, January 2014, Blue Courtyard, Jodphur, Rajasthan, India.

Photographs from the Edge by Art Wolfe, pages 246-247, January 2014, Blue Courtyard, Jodphur, Rajasthan, India.

With some of the previous photos Art was able to arrange subjects to create a composition he had visualized. With Blue Courtyard he took advantage of serendipity to create a beautiful image of a woman and child using a frame-within-a-frame effect. He’d been walking down a road in a rural community when he came upon this scene. He says he often has time when working on projects to get out and explore the local areas. Such was the case with this photograph.

You can see the range of subject matter from the sample images. Art has photographed wildlife of every form all over the world. He loves interacting with, learning from, and photographing people of all cultures, especially those still keeping traditions alive. And while in all these locations he seeks out and captures beautiful landscapes.

Photographs from the Edge is a perfect book for anyone who appreciates Art Wolfe’s work and is interested in the stories behind the photographs.


Earth Is My Witness: The Photography of Art Wolfe by Todd Henson

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Earth Is My Witness: The Photography of Art Wolfe is one of the most stunning books of photography I own, and is by far the best collection of Art Wolfe’s photography I’ve ever seen. I love this book!

The book is 396 pages, most of which are full of photographs. There are full page photos, pages with two photos per page, full bleed photos that stretch across two pages, and pages that unfold with multiple photos per page.

The book is organized by types of environments, containing the following sections:

  • Introduction by Wade Davis

  • Mountain

  • Polar - Subpolar

  • Desert - Savanna

  • Ocean - Island

  • Tropical - Subtropical

  • Afterword

  • Photo Notes

  • Acknowledgements

Each photography section has an introduction where Art talks about those environments and his experiences photographing in them. It’s always great reading these kinds of intros, getting to learn more about Art, his history, his photography, and the peoples, places, and locations he has visited and photographed. But as great as these introductions are, the focus of this book is definitely on the photography, with page after page of large, bold, vivid photographs.

The particular edition I own is the original large fine art edition from 2014. It measures 11 x 14 inches and is 1.5 inches thick. There is also a smaller edition measuring 5.8 x 12.2 inches and also 1.5 inches thick. Both editions are 396 pages in length.

The large edition has some of the most saturated colors I’ve ever seen in a printed book. It’s almost like a book full of inkjet prints instead of the typical books of photography I’m used to. Don’t get me wrong, I love all my other books of photography, but this one just seems far more punchy, more vivid, more alive.

According to Art Wolfe’s website the large edition used a new color reproduction technique called Chroma Centric, which it says is eight times more precise than standard offset printing, and enhances the color gamut by more than 25 percent. And I certainly can see the difference in many of the photographs. I would love to see more books use this printing technique.

Earth Is My Witness would be a great book for anyone who loves nature, travel, wildlife, landscapes, and photography of indigenous peoples. And for any fan of Art Wolfe’s photography. It has become one of my favorite books of photography and one I’m very happy to have in my collection.


Large Format Edition:

$61.62

Regular Format Edition:

$40.31


Travels to the Edge: A Photo Odyssey by Art Wolfe - Review by Todd Henson

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Cover of Art Wolfe's   Travels to the Edge: A Photo Odyssey

Cover of Art Wolfe's Travels to the Edge: A Photo Odyssey

Travels to the Edge: A Photo Odyssey is a companion book to Art Wolfe’s television show, Travels to the Edge. It contains a fantastic selection of the photographs Art created during the filming of the show, along with a small description of each image and of the general region in which the photograph was created.

A map of the locations the crew travelled to in   Travels to the Edge  .

A map of the locations the crew travelled to in Travels to the Edge.

I absolutely loved the television program, and have spent hours watching and re-watching the episodes. As I’ve mentioned before, Art Wolfe is one of my favorite living photographers and someone in whom I find enormous amounts of inspiration. When I received this book as a gift I began a re-watch of the series, this time paging through the book as I watched the show. I enjoy seeing the photographs in print as I watch him create them on screen.

Travels to the Edge: A Photo Odyssey   - The Pantanal, Brazil

Travels to the Edge: A Photo Odyssey - The Pantanal, Brazil

Travels to the Edge: A Photo Odyssey   - South Georgia Island, The Southern Ocean

Travels to the Edge: A Photo Odyssey - South Georgia Island, The Southern Ocean

During the filming of Travels to the Edge, Art Wolfe and his crew travelled all over the world, learning about and photographing remote cultures, wildlife, and scenery, capturing images of sights that may one day disappear. This book is a record of those travels and experiences. It contains an amazing diversity of culture and wildlife as well as sweeping and intimidate landscapes.

Travels to the Edge: A Photo Odyssey   - Antarctica and the Falkland Islands

Travels to the Edge: A Photo Odyssey - Antarctica and the Falkland Islands

Travels to the Edge: A Photo Odyssey   - The Omo River Valley, Ethiopia

Travels to the Edge: A Photo Odyssey - The Omo River Valley, Ethiopia

The book is organized by specific locations where the show was filmed. Each section starts with a brief description of that location and what sorts of experiences the crew had while filming that area. Following this are a number of photographs from each region, most of which will be familiar to you if you’ve seen the show. At the end of the book is a Photographer’s Field Notes section that lists the technical details of each photograph, such as focal length, shutter speed, aperture, and the equipment used to create the photograph (camera, lens, tripod, etc).

Travels to the Edge: A Photo Odyssey   - The Kingdom of Bhutan

Travels to the Edge: A Photo Odyssey - The Kingdom of Bhutan

Travels to the Edge: A Photo Odyssey   - Hokkaido and Honshu, Japan

Travels to the Edge: A Photo Odyssey - Hokkaido and Honshu, Japan

Travels to the Edge: A Photo Odyssey is a great portfolio of work that represents Art Wolfe very well. I think it can be enjoyed whether or not you have watched the television show. It’s also a great book for those of you who want to see the world without traveling to each of these locations. Sit back in a comfortable chair and spend some time with this great collection of images. And by all means, check out the show, as well. I have the entire series on DVD (yes, I’m old school).

Travels to the Edge: A Photo Odyssey   - Hokkaido and Honshu, Japan

Travels to the Edge: A Photo Odyssey - Hokkaido and Honshu, Japan