Tales by Light

Wildlife photographers must get the best air-miles; not only that, they get to go and see, in person, the natural wonders of the world. Luckily for us, they bring records back for us armchair explorers; so that, after a day of commuting, or cubicle-dwelling, or whatever we do to make a living, we can imagine ourselves connected to a larger world, by seeing images of a humpback whale teaching its calf new tricks; or vast penguin colonies living a hardscrabble collective existence in the outer areas of Antarctica; or the silent contemplations of gorillas in Ugandan forests.

Tales by Light Season One is now appearing on Netflix, (as of November 11th, 2016

) and it affords us some inspirational and compelling portraits of five photographers at the top of their game. Conceived and commissioned by Canon Australia, this high-resolution 4K feast is a six-part series.

“Having Tales by Light Season One available on Netflix is a wonderful acclamation of the quality and broad appeal of our Australian-made photography series and we are excited that it will now entertain millions of subscribers around the world,” says Canon Australia Director of Consumer Imaging and Executive Producer of the series Jason McLean. “This series is unique and started from our simple aim of celebrating the amazing visual storytellers who push the creative boundaries and it’s great that this concept resonates so well across regional divides.”

As a behind-the-scenes depiction, there is a certain fascination in seeing us ‘pull back’ from that original static image that the photographers selected (presumably from hundreds, if not thousands, of shots; photographers may get great air-miles, but they spend a LOT of time to get that one essential image). In these documentaries we hear their spoken thoughts, see their methodologies and processes; and thereby pull back one more time into moving video footage of them at work, combatting tides and jungles and language barriers.

The series was produced and directed by internationally award-winning Australian filmmaker Abraham Joffe, who has filmed professionally in over 40 countries on all seven continents. He is also an experienced underwater filmmaker and drone pilot (talents on evident display throughout the series).

Of the photographers, Art Wolfe (who has photographed for the world’s top magazines such as National Geographic, Smithsonian and GEO) is the only photographer to get two episodes, of the six, dedicated to him. Maybe this is no wonder, given that Sir David Attenborough, who has guided the world through various iterations of his own ground-breaking portraits of the natural world, states that: “Wolfe’s photographs are a superb evocation of some of the most breathtaking spectacles in the world.”

Wolfe shows us him capturing, on film, the great brown bear of Alaska’s mountains and glaciers, and migrating wildebeests in the plains of East Africa. Likewise, we see underwater and nature photographer Darren Jew peering down into an active volcano in Papua New Guinea.

Likewise, Peter Eastway (AIPP Grand Master of Photography) captures the wilderness and wildlife of Antarctica and South Georgia.

In addition, we see that “man” is an anthropological creation of the world, cohabiting with nature, with his/her own engaging rituals; and some of the photographers spend the same amount of time capturing human cultures as they do the intricacies of those species that share the planet with us.

Wolfe, once again, captures the famous mud men and the Huli people in Papua New Guinea, and works on his human canvas project with the Surma people of Ethiopia.

Krystle Wright (herself a pioneering extreme sports photographer, who pushes herself to almost the same limits as her subjects) captures the immersive world of free-diving in Vanuatu; a world in which humans almost transcend their limitations and join with other aquatic life.

Travel photographer extraordinaire Richard l’Anson (founder of Lonely Planet Images and the author of Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Photography) captures the scintillating Festival of Holi in India, as Hindus celebrate a sharing of love realized in vivid real world pantones of spice and fabric.

Each photographer’s approaches – and idiosyncrasies – are totally their own; their ‘passport’ to a new land of riches; but if they share one thing in common it is a dedication to capturing their subjects in moments of truth and enlightenment. Tales by Light Season One shares this with us.

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