American photographer Emmet Gowin (b. 1941) is best known for his portraits of his wife, Edith, and their family, as well as for his images documenting the impact of human activity upon landscapes around the world. For the past fifteen years, he has been engaged in an equally profound project on a different scale, capturing the exquisite beauty of more than one thousand species of nocturnal moths in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, French Guiana, and Panama.
These stunning color portraits present the insectsmany of which may never have been photographed as living specimens before, and some of which may not be seen againarrayed in typologies of twenty-five per sheet. The moths are photographed alive, in natural positions and postures, and set against a variety of backgrounds taken from the natural world and images from art history.
Throughout Gowins distinguished career, his work has addressed urgent concerns. The arresting images of Mariposas Nocturnas extend this reach, as Gowin fosters awareness for a part of nature that is generally left unobserved and calls for a greater awareness of the biodiversity and value of the tropics as a universally shared natural treasure. An essay by Gowin provides a fascinating personal history of his work with biologists and introduces both the photographic and philosophical processes behind this extraordinary project.
Essential reading for audiences both in photography and natural history, this lavishly illustrated volume reminds readers that, as Terry Tempest Williams writes in her foreword, The world is saturated with loveliness, inhabited by others far more adept at living with uncertainty than we are.
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