FRANS LANTING has been hailed as one of the great photographers of our time. His influential work appears in books, magazines, and exhibitions around the world. Born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, he earned a master’s degree in economics then moved to the United States to study environmental planning. Soon after, he began photographing the natural world--and never turned back. For three decades he has documented wildlife from the Amazon to Antarctica to promote understanding about the Earth and its natural history through images that convey a passion for nature and a sense of wonder about our living planet.
“Frans Lanting has set the standards for a whole generation of wildlife photographers,’’ according to the BBC. “Mr. Lanting’s photographs take creatures that have become ordinary and transform them into haunting new visions,” writes renowned biologist Dr. George Schaller in The New York Times. “As a chronicler of natural history today, Frans Lanting is a singular, extraordinary talent,” says Thomas Kennedy, former Director of Photography at National Geographic. “He has the mind of a scientist, the heart of a hunter, and the eyes of a poet.”
Lanting's work is 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 to a unique circumnavigation by sailboat of South Georgia Island in the subantarctic. In a remote part of the upper Amazon Basin, he spent weeks on platform towers to obtain rare tree-canopy views of wild macaws. He lived for months with seabirds on isolated atolls in the Pacific Ocean, followed lions through the African night, and camped among giant tortoises inside a volcano in the Galápagos.
Lanting did pioneering work in Madagascar and in Botswana's Okavango Delta, and his photo essays about Borneo's rainforest, emperor penguins in Antarctica, and the plight of puffins in the North Atlantic, have been featured in publications around the world. Images from his year-long odyssey to assess global biodiversity at the turn of the millennium filled an issue of National Geographic. Lanting’s work for the Geographic also includes profiles of ecological hot spots, a series of photo essays on American landscapes, and stories about Hawaii's volcanoes, Zambia's wildlife, a global survey of albatrosses, and a feature on groundbreaking research with chimpanzees in Senegal that is shedding new light on human evolution. His story about Namibia's new super park featured an image, "Ghost Trees, Namibia," that became an internet sensation when it was published in the June 2011 issue of National Geographic.
In 2006, Lanting and his wife and partner, Chris Eckstrom, launched The LIFE Project, a lyrical interpretation of the history of life on Earth, as a book, an exhibition, a website (www.LifeThroughTime.com), and a multimedia orchestral performance with music by Philip Glass. The LIFE symphony premiered in Santa Cruz, California, that same year, and has been touring North America and Europe ever since. ORIGINS, a new multimedia production based on LIFE, was performed in Geneva, Switzerland, at the official ceremony to inaugurate CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, the largest machine ever built to study the origins of the universe. LIFE was performed at the Lincoln Center in New York to launch the World Science Festival and to honor the distinguished biologist Dr. E. O. Wilson, and in London, Marin Alsop conducted the London Symphony Orchestra in a special performance of LIFE at the Barbican.
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 (1997), Okavango: Africa's Last Eden (1993), Forgotten Edens (1993), and Madagascar, A World Out of Time (1990). In 2000, his book Eye to Eye was named by National Public Radio-KQED as one of the 50 most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century.
Lanting has received many awards for his work, including top honors from World Press Photo, the title of BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award. Lanting has also been honored as a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society in London and is a recipient of Sweden’s Lennart Nilsson Award. 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.
Lanting’s mission is to use photography to help create leverage for conservation efforts ranging from local initiatives to global campaigns, through his publications, alliances, public appearances, and active support of environmental organizations. He serves on the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund and on the Chairman’s Council of Conservation International. Lanting is a Trustee of the Foundation Board of the University of California Santa Cruz, and is an honorary Director of the Friends of Long Marine Lab. He is a columnist for Outdoor Photographer, a co-founder of the North American Nature Photographers Association (NANPA), and a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP).
Frans Lanting makes his home in Santa Cruz, California, with Chris Eckstrom, an editor, videographer, and former staff writer at National Geographic with whom he collaborates on fieldwork and publishing projects.
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