Jungles is a personal exploration of nature in the tropics by master photographs, storyteller, and naturalist Frans Lanting. In a unique collection of images made over a period of 20 years in jungles from the lowlands of the Congo to the cloud forests of the Andes, Frans Lanting interprets the aesthetic splendor and the remarkable natural history of the tropical rainforest—a realm of bewildering complexity where nothing is the way it first appears. “While the essence of photography is to show, jungles hide, or at best, suggest,” Lanting writes. “So I opted to show impressions of jungles to evoke a sense of their kaleidoscopic nature—the glimpses of faces that melt into shadows, the bursts of color and shimmering light.”
The book features four portfolios of images that blend the results of travels years and continents apart. Within the portfolios are stories of field expeditions into tropical wilderness areas. “Water and Light” shows the interplay of these elements with plant and animal life, and ends with a story about life after dark in the jungles of Central America. “Color and Camouflage” explores the need to hide and the desire to be seen, and details a journey to a remote part of the Amazon Basin to document macaws. “Anarchy and Order” features impressions of growth and movement, and leads to a trek up a mountain in Borneo whose forested flanks show a unique layering of life zones. “Form and Evolution” is an ode to the wonders of natural selection, and culminates in encounters with primates in the forests of Madagascar and Africa.
In photographs that range from spectacular gatherings of rainbow-colored macaws to the misty exhalations of a forest at dawn, Frans Lanting evokes the luscious sensuality and intricate natural order of the forests that shelter the ultimate expression of life on earth.
But difficult conditions come with the work. In this oversized portfolio of 120 full-color images made over two decades on four continents, Lanting chronicles the life of the world's jungles, organizing the work by themes (water and light, color and camouflage, anarchy and order, form and evolution). As befits the jungle's manic pace, few of the images are static, as Lanting captures macaws and butterflies and even frogs in flight, orangutans brachiating their way from vine to vine, turkeys and snakes scrambling and slithering. Some of the images are nothing short of astonishing, among them views of an otherworldly cloudforest lobelia thicket in Hawaii and of treetop expanses that exhibit the phenomenon called "canopy shyness," an arboreal version of animal territoriality. Admirers of Lanting's previous books, such as Okavango and Eye to Eye, will prize his new collection, while rainforest devotees will find much to inspire them in the images he brings before us. --Gregory McNamee
Paperback : 255 pages
Dimensions: 0 x 0 x 0 inches