The Art of Seeing

Lesson 14 of 23

Shooting for Publication

 

The Art of Seeing

Lesson 14 of 23

Shooting for Publication

 

Lesson Info

Shooting for Publication

now let's swing to the other end of the spectrum then you start shooting for publication when you start to work professionally as a photographer there's a lot more pressure on you you can't put things off you can't wait for the perfect conditions when the magazine editor asks you to do something you perhaps just have a couple of days to make the pictures and delivered him there often on deadline so one day I found myself in this marsh in the state of oregon on assignment for national geographic and I got really scared because it didn't look quite as glorious as I had envisioned how do you create a national geographic style photograph in this situation my assignment was to find and to photograph frogs that are mutating that are changing shape as a result of environmental pollution they're growing too many legs and the legs are growing in the wrong places so I did find some on dh this is one of these weird extra legs but the picture wasn't quite right it looked too pretty I don't know al...

l the things I knew how to do as a nature photographer you wait for the good light you make the background really smooth you wait for the frog to have a catch light in its eye but it was too pretty if I would show you this picture would you get scared would you get worried about what is happening there maybe not so I started looking for other ways to photograph these frogs and I found my way back to the lab but the scientists who were studying these frogs and he had a whole collection of death frocks that he kept in jars with alcohol so that he can analyze them later on and I asked if I could pull some of our out of the jar put him in little petrie dishes and I started prying the legs apart and it became much clear of all of us going on you can see they have too many hind legs and then I thought well maybe it works even better than I put a whole bunch of these frogs together in the same petrie dish because then I can show that it's not just one frog that suffered at fate it's actually a pattern and you can see how my thinking evolved her I put the petrie dish in an open window sill and the blue was caused by the surface of the liquid reflecting the blue of the sky outside I very carefully pried apart the legs so that the maximum number of lex was visible and this is the image that was published in national geographic it's much more disturbing and much clearer as an illustration of the situation than what I found originally I photographed details like the scientist yo handling the frogs with tweezers and then I asked him to pose for me as well and I had to do something unusual to make this portrait of him I asked him to lie down on the floor stick its head into an empty terreri um then I put the petrie dish with the dead frogs on top of literary in and I asked him to look very seriously at the frogs but not too closely because otherwise he would have been cross eyed and that image almost made the cover of national geographic it was laid out by the designers and then at the last moment it was replaced with another one of my image is of a frog a living frog instead of a bunch of death frogs I told you that I have a love affair but albatrosses and it goes back to the days when I spent time at them on the hawaiian leavitt islands here I am that a colony of laysan albatrosses I got to know these birds very well I'd spent time with a few pairs particular in that neighborhood as I call it and then I delivered a picture stood a magazine that I I had proposed to do a story about albatrosses for magazine called geo that this published in the united states as well as in europe I delivered the pictures and then I've been ofsome other place and then I happened to pass through new york city then the issue of geo was published with my albatross story on the cover and I walked around new york and I was so excited I thought I've made it everyone will recognize me now the rest of my life is going to be easy and then I noticed that what I consider wildlife can be interpreted in a different way by other people and I realized that there is a lot of competition for people's attention if you want to compete with others on a busy new stand now there's one of these ah ha moments it made me realize that if I wanted to photograph professionally that it was very important to be very clear in my ideas about situations and to capture situations in a very graphic style because you don't get a lot of time for people's attention I began to work for national geographic and I learned a lot from the editors there because they've been doing that for more than a century the fine art of telling picture telling stories with pictures that's what the editors to I stepped into a tradition and the tradition continues with quite a few photographers who also contribute to the pages of the magazine we come together once a year as a tribe from all quarters of the world and we spent a couple of days together to share stories learn what's going on and then be swarm all over toe swarm back all over the world again every one of us has his own specialty david ou belleza world renowned underwater photographer he has his own style is unique personality shines through in his portrait david's very organized then there's then there's david alan harvey maybe not so much but a unique photographer with a fantastic career he specializes in street photography being really close to people he understands the fine art of walking up to complete strangers and making them friends in a matter of minutes and then there's my colleague and friend jim brandenburg who likes to do things on his own he was an early adopter of digital technology every one of us is different so at the national geographic you end up in a visitor's chair like this one trying to convince an editor behind a big desk about what you would like to do and by which you would like to propose is really important and why you should be given the assignment to do that that takes a lot of convincing and it takes clarity in your thinking because you don't get a lot of time from these busy editors and you have to not just convince one person you have to convince the editor in chief the researchers to our directors you become part of a team it's not just the pictures that do too convincing for you you need to be able to articulate your ideas the words air justus important as the images then after the pictures are made you have to work that the are directors to give them shape in the printed format you have to turn single pictures into layout and then you have to start thinking about what should be the first image and what should be the last image no different from writing a poem or writing a story you need a lead and you need an ent very different when you start thinking about pictures in that context they become a visual language they're no longer just words you need to string them together they need to make sense that needs to be pacing that needs to be rhythm and there needs to be emotion of course these days everything is down digitally we don't fool around with polaroids and sticking them up on the wall again so I don't even have to go to washington but but the process is still the same how do you make sense of a big pile of images and turn them into something that people can digest on the printed page or these days on an ipad and so that they can consume a lot of information and digested quickly so there's a big picture to some smaller pictures there's some artwork and there is text and everything has to work together and you get maybe eight to ten pages maybe sixteen pages to compress a really complex story into something that iss easily digestible it's like making a pop song it has to be consumed in a matter of minutes now that works and I've done that for many years I like doing that still but I also like the longer format of expressing ideas and stringing images together in book form that takes longer than putting a magazine story together often takes years I grow ideas for books I contact publishers and then once there's an initial agreement about a ny idea than I doom or coverage it could take me several years before I have enough images together and before there's text I work with outside writers or christine and I collaborate on the text there's many different vice to do that this is a book we published about bonobos a specific subject in a book that was published about madagascar a specific the place and another book about the okavango delta in botswana but we also published conceptual books that are wrapped around ideas we've done a siri's of books for a german publisher called passion and this is one of them jungles which is a conceptual look at the tropical rain forests around the world it was not space pacific it was wrapped around ideas we did several books like that including a book that I will talk about later on about the history of life but I would like to share a few images with you from a book that has been very important to me and that has touched a lot of people who have seen it and digested the ideas and the images bo called ida why he goes back to a story that was told to me by akagi allele older an indian elder who lived on the west coast of candidate it's a story about the original connections between animals and humans and how that relationship broke apart and how we could perhaps he'll it again I wish I could tell you the whole story here but this is not the time to do that but I invite you to listen to that story the way I shared it with the audience at the ted conference you can go to ted dot com my talk was just uploaded in his life now it is a short talk with the origin of that story and the same images that I'm sharing with you here but suffice it to say that I do I is all about stressing the enduring connections between animals and humans so I selected a number of images that made us look into the eyes of other animals as if they are tiffs close ups at first animals as individuals one on one the face of a puffin the face of a chameleon in the face of a bonobo of a noble lying down and then in the next section two by two you know we are looking at animals in relationship with each other as spares and then as families and then in the last section it is all in all animals in societies we live our lives in the same way as individuals in pairs and families and but in societies meerkat in a desert off botswana impalas coming together at a waterhole and elephants who live in in small groups that but enduring bonds that last a lifetime so that book is still on inspiration to me I keep adding images to to it the idea's still get elaborated on even though the book has been published years ago so I've under john if this might be a good moment to ask our audience if they have any comments or questions over there there's any questions that come in from the from the chat room we've got both france people are just loving what you're teaching here and I will share some comments from you because melissa who's being joining us on both sessions she says session one far exceeded my expectations franz is an outstanding teacher and inspiration to her I know you've been an inspiration to so many people are that bill is joining us he's saying he must say that seeing this knowledge of the wildlife habits so that he can peak in approach sedate and capture has been amazing for him on photo maker says this is very helpful for france to show the national geographic publishing process it's not just the idealistic dream job in which someone sees the miracle of your photos we'd all like to think it is you'd be showing us behind the curtain and what painstaking effort goes into making those incredible images so thank you but this question came from werner and saying what influenced your work the most the technical sophistication of your camera or you as a human being that's a very interesting question what influenced me the most the technical sophistication sophistication of the camera or for you as a human being the I consider the technical sophistication of the camera mohr on dh maura challenge to overcome ultimately my inspiration comes from connecting as a human being that the rest of the world and to be inspired by other colleagues by photographers but also by artists and by scientists and by conservationists thank you persist in the audience is carol yeah had another question really sort of the business of being a national geographic photographer I was just sort of wondering the chicken in the egg of how often is it you going to them saying hey I'd really like to do a piece on ah tool bearing chimps and senegal versus them coming to you saying we want to do you know the other way and had and asking you to take that assignment it could go both ways then you are known to the editor stay can I call you and say would you like to do this and usually does request you are connected to the particular specialties that certain photographers are good at they're not going to call me eve and yes they needs three pictures from rio de janeiro but when it comes to chimps I might be one candidate but just is often the photographers go to the editors with their own idea just because they travel constantly therein contacted a lot of different people so it doesn't work to sit by the phone and hope that it rings and if you're not known to the editor said two geographic it can be very difficult of course thousands of people submit pictures to the magazine in hope that one arm or get published but the difference between people who submit those pictures and what the editors are looking for is very two pictures tell a story one picture isn't enough they do get published there is now a section in the magazine called your shop so anyone can submit those images and in every issue a handful are published but a picture story that takes a very different approach and that is what I hope yeah I can get across to you all here how you can take that step from making single pictures that work vetting their own frame to images stead work together so did I hear you say in the very beginning well you're doing it just around your passion you were doing the writing of articles and the photos he told the whole story indeed I started off as a photographer and then I realized that I could improve my chances of getting my pictures published if I could write the story to go along with the pictures because that's of course toe next question that another editor asks if they like your pictures say of what are we going to do with these pictures do you know someone who could write to them and that's what I did with that first story about shandling's now that you have to also produce for ipads and other tablets how often you have to add the video that krista's that's a good question in this in this day and age people want to be able to go from single pictures to videos going backto artwork and maura um or you'll be like to look at things that move so videos become very important christine started as a writer she was a staff writer in the national geographic book division for years and she taught me to find art of working with words to express ideas alongside the images on but you know she started diversifying her talents as well and embraced video as another way to express her interest in the natural world so we produce short form video pieces that we used for exhibitions and in presentations that set

Class Description


Join world-renowned National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting for two days of instruction and inspiration that will change the way you look at photography and what you can do with your own camera.

With experiences from three decades of work in wild places – from the Amazon to Antarctica, Frans will introduce you to new ways to capture the wonders of the natural world with a camera. His class includes presentations about creative ideas and technical skills, and also features landscape and wildlife photography instruction during special field workshop sessions at prime photographic destinations along the California coast — Frans’s home ground for the past 30 years. The course will conclude with a critique of images submitted by viewers.

If you’re passionate about nature photography and want to improve your own photographic vision, you will be inspired by this unique course from a master photographer and teacher.


Reviews

Robert Felice
 

This was a very good course, I learned a lot from the lectures, and I also picked up some good tips. Frans spent a bit of time trying to convince us that being a National Geographic photographer is nowhere as glamorous as you imagined it to be. He also emphasized just how much time it takes to capture a great image. I found the Field Trip lessons were useful demonstrations of how to work a scene, The last three lessons were about Frans' LIFE project, which I found interesting, but somewhat incidental to the main subject of the course. The images were breathtaking, however, and perhaps they will inspire me.