Frans Lanting (CA) has been hailed as one of the great nature photographers of our time. His influential work appears in books, magazines, and exhibitions around the world. Born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, he earned a master’s degree in economics then moved to the United States to study environmental planning. Soon after, he began photographing the natural world–and never turned back.
For three decades he has documented wildlife from the Amazon to Antarctica to promote understanding about the Earth and its natural history through images that convey a passion for nature and a sense of wonder about our living planet.
“Frans Lanting has set the standards for a whole generation of wildlife photographers,’’ according to the BBC. “Mr. Lanting’s photographs take creatures that have become ordinary and transform them into haunting new visions,” writes field biologist Dr. George Schaller in The New York Times. “As a chronicler of natural history today, Frans Lanting is a singular, extraordinary talent,” says Thomas Kennedy, former Director of Photography at National Geographic. “He has the mind of a scientist, the heart of a hunter, and the eyes of a poet.”
Lanting’s work is commissioned frequently by National Geographic, where he served as a Photographer-in-Residence. His assignments have ranged from a first look at the fabled bonobos of the Congo to a unique circumnavigation by sailboat of South Georgia Island in the subantarctic. In a remote part of the upper Amazon Basin, he spent weeks on platform towers to obtain rare tree-canopy views of wild macaws. He has lived for months with seabirds on isolated atolls in the Pacific Ocean, followed lions through the African night, and camped among giant tortoises inside a volcano in the Galápagos.
Lanting’s books have received awards and acclaim: “No one turns animals into art more completely than Frans Lanting,” writes The New Yorker. His books include Life: A Journey Through Time (2006), Jungles (2000), Penguin (1999), Living Planet (1999), Eye to Eye (1997), Bonobo (1997), Okavango: Africa’s Last Eden (1993, 2013), Forgotten Edens (1993), Madagascar, A World Out of Time (1990), Islands of the West (1986), and Feathers (1982). In 2000, his book Eye to Eye was named by National Public Radio-KQED as one of the 50 most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century.
Lanting’s mission is to use photography to help create leverage for conservation efforts ranging from local initiatives to global campaigns, through his publications, alliances, public appearances, and active support of environmental organizations. He serves as an Ambassador for the World Wildlife Fund Netherlands, and on the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund USA, as well as on the Chairman’s Council of Conservation International, and on the International Board of WildAid. Lanting is a Trustee of the Foundation Board of the University of California Santa Cruz and is an honorary Director of the Friends of Long Marine Lab. He is a columnist for Outdoor Photographer, a co-founder of the North American Nature Photographers Association (NANPA), and a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP). Frans Lanting makes his home in Santa Cruz, California, with his wife and partner, Chris Eckstrom, an editor, videographer, and former staff writer at National Geographic with whom he collaborates on fieldwork and publishing projects.