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The Art of Seeing

Lesson 23 of 23

Where The LIFE Project Story Went


The Art of Seeing

Lesson 23 of 23

Where The LIFE Project Story Went


Lesson Info

Where The LIFE Project Story Went

my story isn't finished here beyond the bounce of this amazing miracle of how life evolved is the fact that we are now a new element we are reshaping planet earth with everything on it through our collective presence I showed you the same image before just as a reminder now that the situation is become pretty urgent so we are losing a lot of species you know scientists now say they are in the midst of a new mass extinction but this time it's not an asteroid this time it's us so I don't dwell on that this is not the time to do that we all know that there's something happening here that is much bigger than our own your limited time on planet earth and at kew gardens in the uk they're storing millions and millions of plants seats just in case these plants go extinct and then we may have something to nurture them backto life from their genetic material so that's two doom and gloom story of how much for losing but I would also like to argue that we're in the midst of an enormous expansion o...

f our knowledge about life on earth here we are adding new species through the tree of life literally every day from the discoveries made by biologist that are swarming out over our planet and this is one miraculous image that I made of a scientist actually touching a creature that he'd never seen before and he knew of his a new species because he happened to be the world expert on image with meaning first content so if horse you craps khun give us blood to test our drugs and maybe contribute to eye sight for the blind what other secrets maybe insight that is what I try to express with this image the miracle the life of these crabs but the relevance for us if you extend the sense of nature into our modern era um I think we need to drop the divisions between nature and ourselves many people now proclaim our era to be the one of human biology and what they're learning about ourselves and what we're going to be able to do with and for ourselves so I extended my life project into the hallways in the laboratories of a biotechnology firm in the san francisco peninsula genentech which invited me to become an artist in residence to work with their scientist and their engineers to create a new set of images that is based on what they see deep inside the human body microscopic patterns of living cells that are growing out this is a blood cell that is growing out in a tissue culture and to match them up but things that I'd seen on the face of the living earth and then we started combining them parallel patterns and be turned this into an exhibition it's another example of a creative collaboration using these amazing patterns that are extracted from microscopic visualizations in this case a cross section through a kidney which is really of minus a minuscule version of what is happening here of order flushing through a coastal system look at him to get him same patterns of liquid flowing through a structure and here's a cross section through intestines of a mouse with tumors growing inside the fragility of life and what can affect its survival and I combined it with this image to just stress how precious and temporary everything is and how easily the miracle of life can be disrupted by something that we don't know how to control so this project was amazing huh I did not know what ivan into and I came out with a new sense of myself in a new sense of nature and then then they published it in many forms it became a book and it became a traveling exhibition that is still circulating it really touched people on many different levels then we went a step further the suggested to a well known musical director named arundel sob who comes to the cabrio festival in santa cruz every year that we could turn life into a performance and she really liked the idea the idea to combine visual art with a meaning behind it that the musical art so we discussed possible composers with whom we could collaborate and therein and I both liked the idea of going to philip glass whose music I've loon and appreciated for many many years and it has a really organic quality that suggest how things evolve over time so philip liked the idea so he came on board here isthe maren talking that philip and then the invited a choreographer from the bay area alex nickels to become part of the creative team as well and alex became a bridge between music and visuals and he and I worked very closely together to give a final shape to the audiovisual score that we created together so the performance premiered in santa cruz california in two thousand six and has been performed over two thousand times in big concert halls around the world by quite renowned orchestras for wonderful occasions for the fiftieth anniversary of the world wildlife fund for the eightieth birthday off here wilson but we also created additional performances that ever meant to bring in school kits we did that that the baltimore symphony and then the baltimore school system came on board and we gave kids you know the chance to look at the images tonight created and the background information and then this is a scene from the lobby of the baltimore symphony hole uh they're kids were able to display the art today had created that is inspired by the life project so I'm going to show you a couple of images because it's just another wonderful example of how one piece of art can inspire somebody else to do something that takes takes things a step further this painting who's inspired by that image and this structure it's a three dimensional structure was inspired by that image and this metal structure was derived from that image so you can see the story of life goes on and home and it's another of wonderful expression of the whole notion that you know you can work to get of it others directly or indirectly and do something that builds on other people's accomplishments so we will do more performances maybe we'll bring it to san francisco one day and so stay tuned for the story of life as a continuing expression of the magic of life itself in our creative ability to respond to it with wonderful imagery thank you very much franz I'm really quite speechless to be quite honest and that's very rare for me this has been a such a beautiful presentation and the response that we've had online from the viewing community is just stunning so I'd like to read you some of the comments had just been coming in on that particular segment um so photo makers saying I love that france approaches conservation and protection of the planet from different angles so that different types of people can relate to the messages he's trying to convey the title of this class is just so perfect not only is it a skill art tohave a knife or high quality photography but look at the beautiful art that's out there to see if we take the time to look and recognize what we see amy sums it up brilliantly she just had to say this is just amazing simple and to the point stop pick saying I knew this would be worthwhile that I didn't know it would be this good michelle b says this has been an amazing class thank you franz for shape sharing your gift of vision I hope you'll be back again I'm feeling inspired to go out and look through my camera in a new way thank you france another view said absolutely magical presentation you have literally moved me to tears this's just beautiful thank you france thank you for creative life with such a stellar presentation and pat has said what great pictures if I could take one even close to these I would feel honored more than ever I just want to go out and take more pictures promise you've absolutely electrified our audience here I think everybody here in the studio is stunned as I am by that really wonderful way to finish this incredible two days thank you very much so but I would like to give it back to the audience are there graham are there other comments or questions that are triggered by the images have really wanted to keep you but in the spell of moving through time so I didn't dwell too much on the technicalities of the images but now is your time so I think one of the things I'm going toe be really mindful of as to take away from this is that most people press a shutter button and say that they took a picture and author out the two days you've been saying that you've been mate you make an image and I think the choice of verb there is really critical because it it goes to the art of seeing in the intentionality in what you're doing and so for me that's a really important takeaway and I'm goingto sort of not only shift my eye but shift my language around what I'm doing to remind myself of that thank you for saying that because I used the terms very deliberately we all without thinking about it we say we take a picture and that kind of is an expression that you take something away on you know almost without thinking about it you know it's quite different venue refer to that same processes making a photograph and that is what we've tried to do to get her here in the course of the last two days is to become aware of the differences between those two processes there's nothing wrong with taking a picture snapshots that weaken take casually it's become so easy but making a photograph is a deliberate act so thank you for for saying that you know this has been wonderful I think to be honest franz you've just just left everyone with such an incredible impression I don't share just a couple more messages saying I came here to learn about apertura but I've gone away learning about life koji is saying wow what a journey through life is so impressive and I moved to tears as well so I mean you really just given us the rap the presentation but any final thoughts you'd like to leave our audience with to encourage them to get out and live their life through their lens well I wish I could have spent more time talking to you about the story of life because you know there's a lot more to say about every one of these situations that I photographed and I could become like one of the scientists who knows too much I could have talked a lot more about the technicalities to but maybe we should save that for another day but in case anyone wants to look up all the details you know there is a book called life a journey through time and we have one copy here for the audience here in the studio to look through and we also have a lot of details on our website about the life project in case you want to to check that out set so let's leave life alone but and maybe since we've become a little bit philosophical here I can save all more thing about that you know the the embraced nature in in a much more passionate way in the last couple of decades since I first picked up a camera and they're living in a critical time now where you were affecting the fate of the planet as a whole and when I began this life project and what I came out it was a different sense of who we are and where we fit into the bigger scheme of things and I very consciously wanted to avoid the reference to nature in the title of this project because when you ask people on the street what nature means to them they probably are saying well that is where I go for the weekend it's this place with a fence around it that is protected but if you ask them is nature are you part of it they probably say no now nature is out there but if you replace the word nature of it life and you asked that same question do you feel part of life there's only one answer and I think that is the big step that we need to take together to make ourselves part of the planet and by doing so I'm sure that you're going to arrive in a new perspective that everything around you and everything that is in you as a starting point for a new kind of photography

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.



I was very excited to be chosen as one of the two students to be in the field shooting for this course. I have been shooting for a long time, but to be in the field with a world renowned nature photographer like Frans Lanting is a bit intimidating to say the least! However when we met that morning at 5:30AM to start shooting, Frans could not have been more charming. He put everyone at ease, and his enthusiasm to go capture fantastic images was infectious. He is an excellent instructor and has a way of sharing his knowledge that is very effective. It was truly inspiring to be involved (in a small way) in creating this course and also being a part of the live studio audience. Thank you again to Frans and the CreativeLive team. I have learned so much in a very short period of time and have been truly inspired by being around all of you. It was an invaluable experience that I will not soon forget!Keep up the great courses – clearly you are filling an important need for many people all over the world. CreativeLive rocks !


In response to the person who made the comment about the attendees not taking a lot of notes: I was an attendee. I believe every person had something to take notes with. I can't speak for anyone else, but for me, when I was told the attendees would be getting the class in our "My classes"; area and I could review it anytime I wanted, I chose to focus on the moment and not take a ton of notes. The Art of Seeing isn't a class chocked full of camera settings and gear guides; it is about figuring about what impact you want to make with your images and then creating those images followed up with examples and then refining your vision - telling a story. If the presentation had been more of a technical how-to, I might have taken more notes in class. I would encourage people not to be distracted by attendees not taking notes and I would hope after 2 days of instruction, if I enjoyed the presenter, that an informational list of his/her work or upcoming events would be posted so I could find out more. Frans Lanting is a fantastic storyteller. His willingness to show his vision and share his wisdom says much about who he is. He is one of the greatest photographers of our time. His desire to be eye to eye with the animals shows us the humanity in them, and in doing that, slowly helps to erase the line between Them and Us, making us all One. Just like Ansel Adams exposed us to and charged us with the knowledge of things we didn't know existed, therefore making us responsible for their safekeeping, Frans reveals animals to us that most of us will never have contact with outside of a zoo. He takes us into their living room, introduces us, enchants us, and then exposes how our actions impact them. But more than that, he doesn't just take us to far off and fantastic places, he looks in his very own community. Not all of us can be a National Geographic photographer, but this class shares with us how we all can make a difference in our own communities. And THAT, well, we are all capable of that.

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.

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