Saturday, November 3, 2018

Book Review: 'Photographs from the Edge: A Master Photographer's Insights on Capturing an Extraordinary World' by Art Wolfe and Rob Sheppard

Photographs from the Edge: A Master Photographer's Insights on Capturing an Extraordinary World 
By Art Wolfe and Rob Sheppard

Review by David Wineberg

Art Wolfe gets to fly around the world, rent helicopters, ultrlights, Land Rovers, elephants and people – guides, fixers, whatever – and seek out interesting photo ops. Then he gets to publish his memories in books and show them at exhibitions. This is a terrific life.

Photographs From The Edge is a sort of best of, in which Wolfe went back through the archives and selected about 150 favorites. Each one is accompanied by a story of less than a page, about the shot, the context, the weather, the camera settings – whatever is relevant. And he remembers the camera and its settings and those other details going back 35 years.

There are photography tips from Rob Sheppard under each shot as well, so the book is meant to be as much inspiration as eye candy. Wolfe’s training is in art, so he consciously and carefully choreographs his photos, to the point of paying human participants. The result is superb composition, but it’s more impressive to me when it’s spontaneous.

It covers the earth, from nature to man, with an emphasis on lighting and capturing moments. The seconds around a sunset are all completely different from a lighting standpoint. I particularly appreciate that he used to take hundreds of shots and would not know if any of them were worth saving until he got back home to Seattle, sometimes months later. Today, with digital, he can see immediately what he has wrought. He also recommends not buying the top of the line camera bodies, because they are obsolete in a year or two, just like phones. On the other hand, high quality lenses - are forever.

Editor's note: This review was has been reposted with permission of David Wineberg. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.