Frans Lanting’s vibrant tribute to the Old Africa of Okavango
Frans Lanting. Okavango
"Botswana, many say, represents the last of Old Africa. And in the heart of this arid land lies a place as inspiring and as incongruous as the snow-capped summit of Kilimanjaro rising on the equator: that is the Okavango, one of the greatest wetlands on earth, whose very existence in the middle of a desert is nothing short of miraculous." —Frans Lanting, 1993
For a year, Frans Lanting roamed the wetlands and deserts of northern Botswana, living by the rhythms of the water and the movements of the animals as he captured them on film. National Geographic had sent him there on assignment, but what he would take away was much more than a magazine story; it was a seminal and unparalleled collection of photographs depicting an epic world of wilderness and wildlife. As Lanting wrote, “To many who have seen the fate of other wild areas in Africa and elsewhere in the world, the very notion that such a place as Okavango still exists is like a dream.” Living out of vehicles and canvas tents, gliding through swamps, following lions by night—Lanting, armed with his cameras, got up close and personal with some of the planet’s most formidable creatures.
The book he published a few years later, Okavango, was a testament not only to the wondrous wildlife of the region, but also to Lanting’s extraordinary courage, skill, and photographic vision. After many publications of Lanting’s work, including Life, Jungles, Eye to Eye, and Penguin, TASCHEN now revisits his original classic which drew critical praise worldwide with this updated and expanded edition of Okavango, further enhanced with all new reproductions and dozens of previously unpublished photos, as well as a new preface by Lanting.
Frans Lanting has been hailed as one of the great photographers of our time. His influential work appears in books, magazines, and exhibitions around the world, and has been commissioned frequently by National Geographic, where he has served as a Photographer in Residence. His books have received awards and acclaim: “No photographer turns animals into art more completely than Frans Lanting,” writes The New Yorker. His previous books include Okavango: Africa’s Last Eden, LIFE: A Journey Through Time, Jungles, Penguin, Eye to Eye, Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape, Living Planet, Forgotten Edens, and Madagascar: A World Out of Time. 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.
Christine Eckstrom is a writer, editor, and videographer. She is the author of Forgotten Edens and a contributing author of more than 15 books published by the National Geographic Society. Her writing for National Geographic Traveler earned a Lowell Thomas Award for Best Magazine Article on Foreign Travel. The editor of Okavango: Africa’s Last Eden, LIFE: A Journey Through Time, Jungles, Penguin, and Eye to Eye, she has also filmed and produced stories for the National Geographic Channel. Her coverage of chimpanzees in West Africa was featured in the NOVA-National Geographic television special Ape Genius, which received a Peabody Award. Eckstrom and Lanting collaborate on fieldwork and publishing projects from their home base in Santa Cruz, California.