Coloratti News – Travels to the Edge with Art Wolfe
by Brenda K. Hipsher – May 2nd, 2010
by Brenda K. Hipsher
Several weeks ago I was sitting in my apartment in Boston working on a Sunday morning with the television on the local public television station. Just at noon a new program came on called “Travels to the Edge with Art Wolfe.” Well I perked right up. I’ve known Art’s work for many years and admired it. I’d just had my new fancy flat panel HD television for a few weeks and this was going to be a treat to watch images of Art Wolfe’s work on my beautiful display. But was I ever in for a surprise! It wasn’t just beautiful images, although they were plentiful, there was beautiful video and information about the location and Art himself speaking about how he’s feeling about where he’s shooting and what he’s seeing. It was a feast for the eyes, the mind, the ears, the heart.
I was so excited about having seen the show that I went to the website www.travelstotheedge.com to do some research. I was just blown away! The color is fantastic, the images superb, the video engaging and interesting. I was so excited that I contacted Art’s office to ask for an interview. And to my great delight, Art made time for me in short order. Here is some of that interview:
X-Rite Photo Blog: There’s a place on the Travels to the Edge website where you describe “the moment it became clear…. This is why I’m doing this series.” But I’m curious, how you even came to shoot first episodes of the series in the first place? How was it born?
Art Wolfe: My mission is to reach out to people who have passion, who have an excitement about photography. This show reminds us that photography is about connecting in relationship. We can communicate nearly all the details of a place and a situation, everything really except smell! I was a painter before I became a photographer. Artists of all kinds including photographers communicate through their art. I want to communicate what is important through photography. Sometimes I think we are losing our ability to inspire people. Television often plays on the peculiarities of people. I think we need to raise people’s awareness of what’s going on beyond our own borders. I want to be contributing to the education and mental uplifting of people. I think there’s a general malaise in people. I want to inspire people with an uplifting message and contribute to our overall mental health and well being.
XPB: Do you know how many television stations are carrying your series?
AW: We know that 70% of PBS stations in the states are carrying it. We are in 38 of the top 40 markets. And we’re on Al Jazeera and in Japan and China.
XPB: Will you add more to the episodes that you currently have released?
AW: Yes! There will be at least 3 more seasons. We have now finished two seasons.
XPB: What impact has the series had on your photography?
AW: I’m 58 years old. Some of my colleagues that are of the same age are beginning to slow down some in their career now. But I love to travel. Culture shock is the catalyst for me seeing things in new ways. The fact that we have to produce the show drives me farther and farther. We take the show to places I’ve never been before. So it’s all new and fresh. That pushes me.
XPB: When I watch the episodes I experience a profound sense of heightened spirituality. Has the series heightened your sense of spiritual connection with natural world?
AW: Definitely. When I get to new places I have a new appreciation of the people and their culture. A lot of people look at photography as an income and a job. For me it is a synthesis of desire and livelihood. I’ve done it this way for 30 years. I’m one of the luckiest people in the world. Anybody who can marry their passion with a job has figured out a miracle, the secret.
XPB: Is there anything else you’d like people to know about Travels to the Edge?
AW: Well I’m coming to many cities on my 2010 Seminar Tour. This seminar is not about technology and gizmos it’s about starting with a good photograph. It’s aesthetic demystified. I’m almost an evangelist in teaching people how to see.
I just enjoyed another great episode of Travels to the Edge this morning. This one came from the cities of Allahabad and Varanasi in India observing one of the holiest and largest rituals in any religion in the world where millions come to ritually bathe in the waters of the Ganges River. I was struck all over again with the combination of vision and emotion, of color and light, of photography, video and audio that makes for a passionate emotional response while learning the technical details of getting the shot.
It’s just masterful. I love it. I hope you’ll catch in on a public television station near you or just go to the website and order the DVD’s. You’ll feel like you’ve been there having a feast for the eyes, the mind and the heart. Check out Travels to the Edge. It will keep you on the edge of your seat. There’s no better way to fuel your passion for photography than to look at beautiful images. And if they’re spot on color managed, perfectly exposed, with video running so you can literally watch him shooting the images and then look at the result, then all the better! Have fun, enjoy, feel your spirits lifted, and refuel your passion for communicating with beautiful images.