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Eliot Porter: In the Realm of Nature: 01/25/15

cover artIn the summer of 2013 I read an article bemoaning the artistic divide between professional / artistic photographers and hobbyists who share their work primarily online. The gist of the article was that most hobbyists can't name a single photographer whose work is in a gallery or museum.

At the same time (coincidence? or perhaps a librarian responding to the article?) my local library put together a display of books about famous photographers as wells as history books on photography movements and techniques.

Eliot Porter: In the Realm of Nature by Paul Mortineau and Michael Brune is a retrospective of the artwork of a man who studied under Ansel Adams and used his techniques to make color photography a recognized and legitimate art form.

Porter's main passion was bird watching. Along with perfecting the craft of capturing colors on film, he worked at techniques to get naturalistic shots of birds in their habitats. His elaborate set ups in trees that could accommodate his bulky camera equipment without spooking the birds are the precursor to the repurposed ducklings used by Thomas D. Mangelsen (review coming).

Porter also took photographs of rocks, leaves, grass and other natural odds and ends. If anything, I no longer feel silly hiding on my balcony trying to snap shots of the chickadee who loves to tell me off. Nor do I feel silly about stopping to shoot a stray leaf or an odd tuft of grass.

Five stars

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