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‘LIFE: A Journey Through Time’ Blossoms Into Annenberg Space For Photography This Saturday

Frans Lanting’s “Flower Hat Jelly,” or Olindias formosa, from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Courtesy photo.
Frans Lanting’s “Flower Hat Jelly,” or Olindias formosa, from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Courtesy photo.

From crabs to jellyfish, diatoms to vast geological formations, jungles to flowers, and monkeys to human embryos, the latest exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography will house a collection of eons from National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting.

On view from Saturday, Oct. 24 to March 20, LIFE: A Journey Through Time complies a multi-year roving exhibit of more than 70 images with texts and stories about the works as well as an innovative timeline of life on this planet. Exclusive to the eminent exhibit’s presentation at the Annenberg Space for Photography are an original documentary short film and four short videos that explore the human connection to life around us.

For the LIFE Project, Lanting set off on a journey of photographic discovery that led him to remote locations such as Western Australia’s Shark Bay and Siberia’s Kamchatka Peninsula to capture primordial landscapes, and into unique museum collections to explore fossils and microscopic life. The result is a celebration of planet Earth that aims to educate and inspire through images and stories of the incredible biodiversity that surrounds us.

Similar to his TASCHEN book, Lanting exhibit is organized in sections, beginning with “Elements,” to interpret Earth’s early history and show interactions among the five classical elements: earth, air, fire, water and space; “Beginnings” traces life from single-celled origins into more complex forms in the sea; “Out of the Sea” evokes the time when life first ventured ashore; “On Land” covers the period when plants and animals colonized solid ground; “Into the Air” highlights the evolutionary innovations of birds and flowering plants, ending with the cataclysmic events that caused the demise of the dinosaurs; “Out of the Dark” portrays the rise of mammals; and the concluding chapter, “Planet of Life,” envisions the collective force of life as a sixth element shaping our planet.

An outdoor component of the exhibition, “Future of Life,” portrays present day challenges to global biodiversity caused by the impact of humans on the planet in an era many scientists now call the Anthropocene.

Lanting was born in Rotterdam and later emigrated to the United States after being educated in the Netherlands. He now lives in Santa Cruz, California and operates a studio and gallery, as well as a stock photography services. Lanting’s wife Christine Eckstrom is a writer, editor, producer, and works on joint books of nature photography.

Lanting works in many different parts of the world including Amazonia, Africa and Antarctica. His photographs are regularly published in National Geographic, where he served as photographer-in-residence. He is also featured in Outdoor PhotographerAudubon Magazine Audubon, and Life. A 2005 exhibit in the Field Museum of Natural History entitled “Jungles” focused on the plants and animals of the rainforest.

An original documentary film commissioned by the Annenberg Space for Photography and produced by award-winning director Steven Kochones and Arclight Productions takes viewers on a journey through time via the remarkable images and story of Lanting’s LIFE Project, while recounting Lanting’s own evolution from wildlife photographer to visual chronicler of life on Earth. The film will include interviews with Lanting in his Santa Cruz studio; natural history writer, editor, videographer and longtime Lanting partner and collaborator Christine Eckstrom; horseshoe crab expert Dr. Carl Shuster; Harvard University evolutionary biologist Dr. Andrew Knoll; National Geographic Senior Photo Editor Elizabeth Krist; Ecological Research & Development Group President Glenn Gauvry; Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) geologist Dr. Abigail Allwood; JPL Mars Program Office Chief Scientist Dr. Richard Zurek; pioneering sociobiologist Dr. Edward O. Wilson; UC Santa Cruz Institute of Marine Sciences Director Dr. Gary Griggs; and renowned primatologist and conservationist Dr. Russell Mittermeier. For the first time, the Annenberg Space for Photography Skylight Studios will be partnering with explore.org to offer programming to complement the LIFE exhibit. Using content and live camera footage from explore.org, Skylight Studios will offer an immersive environment that celebrates species in the sea, on land and in the air.

Skylight Studios will also continue to host the popular Iris Nights lecture series with exhibit-related speakers. The full schedule of events will be announced at a later date. The Annenberg Foundation provides bus funding to Title 1 schools, allowing educators to bring students to the Photography Space, free of charge, to experience LIFE’s wondrous presentation of natural history. The exhibition-related book “LIFE: A Journey Through Time” will be available for purchase at the Annenberg Space for Photography and at Skylight Studios.

Lanting has received numerous awards for his work as a photographer and conservationist, including top honors from World Press Photo, the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award, the title of BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and Sweden’s Lennart Nilsson Award. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands inducted him as a knight in the Royal Order of the Golden Ark, that country’s highest conservation honor.

Once open, hours are on Wednesday through Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm. Admission is free.

The Annenberg Space for Photography is located at 2000 Avenue of the Stars in Century City. Skylight Studios is located at 10050 Constellation Boulevard in Century City.

For more information call 213.403.3000 or visit annenbergspaceforphotography.org.

For more information about the photographer visit lanting.com.

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