Interview With Art Wolfe

American photographer and conservationist, Art Wolfe, speaks to us about his lengthy career and how his work on threatened habitats, of both wildlife and indigenous human cultures, has helped advance the genre of conservation photography

Hello, Art. Congratulations on all the awards you’re collecting for your book Earth is My Witness.

Thank you, thank you. It’s my favorite book so far.

Why is that?

I think the scope and variety of the images, the quality of the printing, and the introduction by Wade Davis. All of those things add up to it being my favorite book.

You have compiled quite a body of work in your lifetime. It’s great to see this volume as a culmination of your life’s work.

It’s not a culmination of my life’s work. Look at this (holds up scratch pad). I’m already drawing pictures for my next Human Canvas shoot. It’s just that I’m a producer, I love producing projects.

Tell me a little about how you got started in photography. Did you take classes, attend a university? What is your background?

My background is painting and art. I was the school artist in grade school, junior high, and high school. When I eventually went to college and after about three years of electives, I declared my major as painting. It was during that period of time, the early to mid-seventies that I started climbing. I enrolled in a climbing class and was given a camera by my parents to document the places I went on weekends, which consisted of scaling Mount Rainier and other peaks in the Cascades. Meanwhile, during the week, I would study art history and design.

When I started taking pictures, I found that creating original photographs was ...

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