Eliot Porter by Paul Martineau
In the Realm of Nature

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The images in In the Realm of Nature are a record of an American wilderness that, though protected, is shrinking as the suburbs creep inexorably outwards. They are the still startling legacy of a true pioneer of photography and ecological awareness.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Known for his exquisite images of birds and landscape, Eliot Porter (American, 1901–1990) was a pioneer in the use of color photography. His work also became a powerful visual argument for environmental conservation. Trained as a medical doctor and possessing a scientist's gift for close observation, Porter explored new ways of depicting nature, building blinds in trees so he could study his avian subjects at closer vantage, and producing landscape images that capture both pristine forest and ragged river canyons with equal force and brilliance. Initially encouraged by the groundbreaking photographers Ansel Adams and Alfred Stieglitz, Porter went on to produce a body of work all his own. His 1962 Sierra Club book In Wildness Is the Preservation of the World, with its images grouped by season and accompanied by quotations from Henry David Thoreau, transformed the concept of nature photography books. Ultimately, Porter's photographs came to the attention of Congress and led to the passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964, the foundational law in wilderness management today.Eliot Porter: In the Realm of Nature contains 110 images from the collections of Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser; the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas; and of the J. Paul Getty Museum, along with an essay by Paul Martineau that discusses Porter's life and the innovations he brought to the practice of photography.
 

About Paul Martineau

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Paul Martineau is an associate curator in the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum and author of Herb Ritts: L.A. Style (Getty, 2012) and Paul Outerbridge: Command Performance (Getty, 2009). Michael Brune is executive director of the Sierra Club.
 
Published November 6, 2012 by J. Paul Getty Museum. 144 pages
Genres: Arts & Photography.
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Guardian

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Reviewed by Sean O'Hagan on Feb 03 2013

The images in In the Realm of Nature are a record of an American wilderness that, though protected, is shrinking as the suburbs creep inexorably outwards. They are the still startling legacy of a true pioneer of photography and ecological awareness.

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