Franz Lanting - Life: A Journey Through Time

I recently discovered the photography of Frans Lanting, via a profile an the Apple Pro Profiles website. He took 7 years to travel the world, photographing various places and things for Life: A Journey Through Time. His eye for composition, and skill at storytelling, combine to inspire and awe.

The Life: A Journey Through Time project resulted in a book, a website (with slideshow and timeline), and much more. The website is one of the most compelling things I've seen online (or off). 86 photographs presented in a slideshow intended to give a feel for the power of life on earth. Evan and I just watched the whole thing again. Amazing stuff. The composition and lighting are simply breathtaking. The narrative is interesting, although somewhat inaccurate at times (jaws and teeth didn't form on land first, etc...) but the message is powerful and compelling.

One thing that really surprised me, is that the content has been covered by the likes of Nature and The Nature of Things before, using video rather than still photography. But, with the photographic slideshow, Evan and I actually had a conversation about each and every slide. We weren't passively watching a video, we were using each photograph as a starting point for a discussion. Why would an animal evolve that way? What's that? Where is that?  The power of photography is in it's ability to initiate and foster conversation, while capturing the details of a a single time, place, and perspective. That's difficult with video, where a narrator is giving you everything, and the pace is less at your control (yes, you can pause video, but who actually does that?).

The book is on my wishlist. The website is on my bookmark bar. I am in awe. I can only aspire to what Lanting was able to do.

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