Last night, Art Wolfe (one of Microsoft’s Icons of Imaging) was on the Microsoft campus to share some of his work with us, and talk about his new television series on PBS: Travels to the Edge with Art Wolfe. Art Spent about an hour walking us through a slideshow of some of his amazing photos. The thing that immediately struck me was that Art is not only an accomplished photographer, but he is also a very knowledgeable naturalist and educator as well. He uses his photography as a tool to educate and inspire people about issues impacting the environment, society, and cultures around the world. What better way to educate viewers about the political battles surrounding the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge than to share spectacular photos of the wildlife and landscapes found there?
Art doesn’t merely document the locations he visits, he creates works of art from them, finding interesting patterns and colors that many of us would either take for granted or miss entirely. We saw more examples of this as Art talked about his show ‘Travels to the Edge with Art Wolfe’. In the show, a film crew follows Art to the ends of the Earth as he goes about his work. Art shares his thought process and describes the techniques he employs as he creates images from all over the world. We were fortunate enough last night to have Art screen a future episode of the show for us about his visit to native tribes in Ethiopia who display amazing and unique adornments.
I went to the lecture expecting to learn more about photography (and I did), but it wasn’t what I expected to learn. I didn’t learn about what f-stop to use or which lens is best in a given situation. Instead, I learned about the impact that photography can have on individual people, and the world. Photographers on Art’s level don’t just take spectacular images, they tell a story with them. It’s not just about technical skill, but also about knowing your subject.
If you’re in the San Francisco Bay area, Art will be giving the same presentation on Friday 5/25. More information can be found on Art’s website.
– Scott Dart (Program Manager)