FRANS LANTING has been hailed as one of the great nature photographers of our time. His influential work appears in books, magazines, and exhibitions around the world. For more than two decades he has documented wildlife and our relationship with nature in environments from the Amazon to Antarctica. He portrays wild creatures as ambassadors for the preservation of complete ecosystems, and his many publications have increased worldwide awareness of endangered ecological treasures in far corners of the earth.
Lanting's work has been commissioned frequently by National Geographic, where he served as a Photographer-in-Residence. His assignments have ranged from a first look at the fabled bonobos of the Congo Basin to a circumnavigation by sailboat of South Georgia Island in the subantarctic. Images from his year-long odyssey to assess global biodiversity at the turn of the millennium filled the February 1999 issue of National Geographic. Lanting's work also includes profiles of ecological hot spots, stories on Hawaii's volcanoes, Zambia's Luangwa Valley, and a series of photo essays on American landscapes. His global survey of albatrosses was published in the December 2007 National Geographic. A feature on groundbreaking research with chimpanzees in Senegal appears in the April 2008 issue of the Magazine.
In 2006, Lanting launched The LIFE Project, a lyrical interpretation of the history of life on Earth, as a book, an exhibition, an interactive website, and a multimedia orchestral performance with music by Philip Glass. Conducted by Maestra Marin Alsop, the multimedia production of LIFE premiered in Santa Cruz, California, in 2006 and is currently touring North America and Europe.
Lanting's books have received awards and acclaim: "No one turns animals into art more completely than Frans Lanting," writes The New Yorker. His books include Life: A Journey Through Time (2006), Jungles (2000),Penguin (1999), Living Planet (1999), Eye to Eye (1997), Bonobo, The Forgotten Ape (1997), Okavango: Africa's Last Eden (1993), Forgotten Edens (1993), and Madagascar, A World Out of Time (1990).
Lanting has received numerous prestigious awards for his work, including the Lennart Nilsson Award in 2005. In 2001 H.R.H. Prince Bernhard inducted him as a Knight in the Royal Order of the Golden Ark, the Netherlands' highest conservation honor. He has received top honors from World Press Photo, the title of BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and the Sierra Club's Ansel Adams Award. He has been honored as a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in London.
Lanting is a Trustee of the Foundation Board of the University of California Santa Cruz. He serves on the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund and is a columnist for Outdoor Photographer.
Frans Lanting makes his home in Santa Cruz, California, with his wife, Christine Eckstrom, a producer, videographer, and former staff writer at National Geographic who collaborates with him on fieldwork and publishing
iLCP FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHER FOR JUNE, 2013
iLCP: What makes a great Conservation Photographer?
Frans Lanting (FL): In my opinion, it can be a bit of a mystery, what is a conservation photographer. We are often compared to wildlife and nature photographers, but there is a difference. Conservation photographers, I think, are people who takes photos for a purpose. It’s not just about the beautiful image, they use their work outside of the standard photographic applications. They use their photos to further a cause, and they let others use their work to pursue causes, too. Being a conservation photographer goes beyond producing an image, it has a lot to do with what one does with the image.
iLCP: What value do you see in an organization like iLCP?
FL: True conservation photographers are a very small circle, and there are no other organizations outside of the iLCP that really serves their needs. The iLCP is a very important catalyst and platform for that specific reason. There is no other organization that can similarly address the needs and aspirations of conservation photographers and their partner organizations.
iLCP: What conservation issue are you most concerned with right now and why?
FL: I worked as an environmental economist before becoming a photographer. I did not pick up a camera just because it was fashionable, nor did I become a conservation photographer because it was fashionable. From the very beginning I’ve had a deep interest in the environment and more specifically in the relationship between humans and the environment. This has been a constant in my photography for the last 40 years. My top concern at the moment is how we strive to achieve a sustainable balance between humans and the environment, especially considering the major challenges we are now facing, such as climate change.