Blue Earth
Glazer's Camera

IN THE LOUPE: Frans Lanting

Frans Lanting Frans Lanting
© Paul Schraub

Home, Studio & Gallery: Santa Cruz, Calif.

Website: franslanting.com

Staff: Depending on which projects are in the works, Lanting employs up to a dozen workers.

Books: "Eye to Eye" (Taschen, 2003); "Jungles" (Taschen, 2000); "Penguin" (Taschen, 1999); "Living Planet: Preserving Edens of the Earth" (Crown, 1999); "Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape" (University of California Press, 1997); "Okavango: Africa's Last Eden" (Chronicle, 1993); "Madagascar: A World Out of Time" (Aperture, 1990).

Equipment: Lanting has worked with Nikon equipment for his entire career, and some of his images have even graced the Japanese company's ads. "I just like their cameras and their lenses," he says, "and I've used them for many years, and I think their strobes are superb." But Lanting warns against getting too wrapped up in equipment choices: "It's easy to get carried away, especially in this day and age when photography is so technology-driven, with comparing features instead of focusing on what you can actually do with a camera. Look at the great photographers who worked 20 or 30 years ago with equipment that by today's standards is very, very simple. It's the power of your vision, not the number of your pixels."

Accolades: Lennart Nilsson Award (2006); Sierra Club's Ansel Adams Award (1997); BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year (1991); Top Honors, World Press Photo (1988, 1989). He is also a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in London, a Trustee of the University of California at Santa Cruz, a National Council member of the World Wildlife Fund and a Knight in Holland's Royal Order of the Golden Ark.

Advice to aspiring photographers: "If you're starting out as a photographer, you need to become very specific and focused about what you want to do," says Lanting. "Just to nibble at many different things in general may yield a good image here or there, but it's going to be very difficult to develop a body of work that way that stands out." He recommends starting out with a project close to home that won't cost an arm and a leg in travel expenses: "Get involved with something you believe in that's close to you physically, and then just work it until you can say, ‘Here's my statement.'"

Roddy Scheer
Story Author: Roddy Scheer

Roddy Scheer is a Seattle-based writer and photographer focusing on environmental issues, the outdoors and travel. He recently completed updating the photography in “Mt. St. Helens: The Continuing Story.” For more information, please visit www.roddyscheer.com.

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