George Steinmetz Documents The World From The Sky

Those of you who suffer from acrophobia may want to proceed with caution while reading the rest of this blog post. That's because the breathtaking images of the world's deserts you're about to see have been taken by last night's IRIS Nights lecturer, photographer George Steinmetz, from high up in the sky...

...on board his own motorized para-glider!

As George explained to the audience, for him to really understand the desert, he needed to get high above the ground. His para-glider is lightest powered aircraft in the world.

His method of photography is certainly not all that safe. He shared a photo of himself that showed injuries he'd received when his glider once crashed during take-off in China. Several busted teeth and 17 stitches didn't stop him from getting back into the pilot's seat!

George told the audience that he has always been a very curious man. The camera is his excuse to explore the world and share his knowledge with the rest of the world.

Don't just think that the deserts are located in hot climates. George gave us all a geography lesson by reminding us that Antarctica, which he has beautifully documented with his own camera, is the largest and driest desert on the planet!

Stropping by to hear George's lecture was his friend Art Streiber, a very talented photographer in his own right.

But George's most important visitor last night was his own mother who watched him with great pride throughout the entire lecture.

Congrats on a great talk, George! Fly safely!

Click here to watch George's IRIS Nights lecture online. For more information about him, visit his official website.

(All images by Unique for the Space)

Mark Moffett And His Adventures Among Ants

One of the featured photographers in "Extreme Exposure", Nick Nichols, has been rightfully nick-named "The Indiana Jones of Photography," so it's only natural that we include the so-called "Indiana Jones of Entomology" as part of the exhibit's IRIS Nights lecture series. Mark Moffett has been photographing ants and other insects for the magazine for years.

During his lecture last night, Mark delivered what could be described as a science and photography lesson - one with his characteristic flair for engaging and intelligent humor. He had the audience in stitches!

The Space is just one of the many places in which Mark regularly finds himself speaking in front of a large audience. He lectures to thousands of people across the country and has even appeared on The Colbert Report and Conan O'Brien's show. That's certainly no ant-sized audience!

Mark's sense of humor mixed with education kept those in attendance roaring with laughter throughout the entire lecture. His story of how he once photographed a frog boogie down (a la a disco-era John Travolta) led to a re-enactment of the dance for the entire audience! For more about that particular story, read this piece about his lecture on The Huffington Post.

After his presentation, Mark signed copies of his book, Adventures Among Ants. The book as entertaining to read as it is hearing him speak. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy for yourself.

Here's a nice shot of Mark with his partner in life, his wife Melissa Wells. Check out some gorgeous pictures from their unorthodox and charming wedding on Easter Island here.

Watch the first few minutes of Mark's IRIS Nights lecture here and learn more about him at his appropriately named site, doctorbugs.com.

(All images by Unique for the Space)

Recent Developments: Julius Shulman

Juergen Nogai ( R) seen here with his wife, Jeannie ( C) and POYi/Water photographer and lecturer Gerd Ludwig ( L)

When we caught up with Juergen Nogai (Julius Shulman's shooting partner) at our last opening, he told us about an amazing retrospective of Julius' (and also Juergen's) work. It was planned well in advance to celebrate Julius' 100th birthday. Sadly, Julius passed away in July of 2009 at the age of 99 leaving us with an impressive life-time of amazing work (see our tribute to him here).


It was decided that 'the show must go on,' and the exhibit, which is the most complete collection of Shulman's work to be shown in one place, opened in October of last year (Julius' 100th birthday would have been 10/10/2010). It's called "Cool and Hot" and it will run until February 27, 2011 at the ZEPHYR Gallery in Mannheim, Germany.

While it might not be likely for you to see this exhibit before February, Juergen did mention that it is likely to hit the road for a mini-tour. We can hope that it makes its way across the pond to us, but so far it doesn't look like that's in the cards. We'll keep you posted.

Tyler Stableford Finds That Dramatic Moment

"World's Greatest Adventure Photographer." "Explorer of Light." These are the names of just some of the awards that Tyler Stableford has won during his distinguished career as an outdoor/adventure photographer. Those are titles just about any adventure photographer would be more than happy to have.

Sitting front and center at Tyler's lecture last night were regular IRIS Nights attendees, Vaughn Hart and Jack Weiss. The two have each been to over 47 sessions of the lecture series since it began two years ago!

Tyler presented his lecture, titled "Out There: Capturing the Dramatic Moment," and the rock-climbing enthusiast, explained just how he goes about capturing those dramatic images.

One technique he prefers is to aim his camera directly into the sun. Take a look at the breath-taking shot above!

Tyler loves using wide lenses in his photographs and has a lot of fun framing his subjects in his photographs.

Tyler spent some time talking about his experience photographing a coal mine in Colorado. Tyler recounted incredible stories  of harrowing near-death episodes from the miners he photographed. Mining isn't just a dirty job, but a dangerous one!

Tyler touched upon the impact his photography has had on his personal live revealing that he and his wife, Megan, recently adopted a 9-month-old orphan from Ethiopia, a country in which he's shot some brilliant images.

Tyler screened the trailer to his short film, The Fall Line, which is about an injured Iraq War veteran whose mental and physical recovery involves the skiing slopes of Aspen, Colorado and his membership in the 2010 Paralympic ski team.

Tyler further lives up to his adventure reputation by photographing f-16 fighter jets and their pilots. Taking pictures in the sky - now that's adventurous!

Thanks for a great lecture, Tyler! We can't wait to see you capture more exciting images in the sky, below the ground and everywhere in between!

Watch Tyler's IRIS Nights lecture here (where you can also see the full trailer for The Fall Line) and learn more about him on his official site.

(All images by Unique for the Space)

Behind The Scenes Of 'Extreme Exposure'

The folks at Arclight Productions (they've produced the digital feature films and "Voice of the Photographer" segments for our exhibitions to date) went on location to shoot footage of each of the five photographers featured in Extreme Exposure. Here are some pictures of the crew braving the frigid waters off of the coast of British Columbia.

So what brought them to Canada? Paul Nicklen's preference for shooting in cold climates, of course.

Looks chilly, guys! Luckily for the rest of us, we can enjoy the Extreme Exposure exhibition in the warm, cozy comfort of the Space!

Check out Arclight's end result here.

Paul Nicklen Chills Out In The Polar Regions

"Extreme Exposure" featured photographer Paul Nicklen's photos of wild animals in the polar regions have awed many who have seen this terrific show. Last night, it was Paul's time to awe IRIS Nights lecture attendees with his amazing stories of what went into capturing those images.

The Space was jam-packed! Over 200 people attended the lecture, which sold out in a matter of seconds when tickets first went on sale a couple of weeks ago.

Paul's message is clearly one of environmental conservation. He cares passionately about the environment and explained that if the polar caps lose their ice, they will also lose polar bears an absolutely frightening thought!

One of the many death-defying moments he recounted in his lecture was the story related to the photograph above. During a trip to the Arctic, Paul's lightweight aircraft experienced engine trouble though he still kept taking pictures during the entire incident! According to Paul, it was all worth it because being able to photograph thousands of narwhals in the Arctic is not all that common!

Why does Paul enjoy taking so many close-up images of animals? He does it because he feels people would care more about them when they are seen in a more intimate light.

During his talk, Paul played several "on location" video clips of himself photographing in the wild. It was great to see how someone in the situation above...

...could end up with this amazing photo!

Paul also recounted the story of his four-day interaction with a female leopard seal who repeatedly attempted to gift Paul a penguin while both were underwater. Despite their sharp teeth, Paul insists that they are very gentle, kind animals.

Paul re-iterated his message of environmental protection throughout his lecture but he managed to inject quite a bit humor into his talk with a his funny deadpan delivery.

How can you help the environment? Paul wants us all to "chill out."

Before he left for the night, Paul stuck around to sign copies of his book, Polar Obsession. The cover of the book features one of his favorite photos - that of a polar bear and his reflection in the clear, glassy waters!

Thanks for sharing the incredible stories and the worthwhile message, Paul!  You can watch his entire IRIS Nights lecture here and learn more about him on his official site.

(All images by Unique for the Space)

Donna O'Meara: Make Your Own Dreams Come True

Donna O'Meara is the last "Extreme Exposure" featured photographer to participate in our IRIS Nights elcture series. You may remember that her husband (and fellow volcanologist) Stephen O'Meara was the very first lecturer for the exhibit. Donna delivered a terrific, inspirational lecture about volcanoes, passion and the journey of life.

Donna, who lives on top of Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, started her lecture by reciting a traditional Hawaiian thank you chant - a first at IRIS Nights.

She showed the audience photos from her wedding to Stephen, which took place on top of Kilauea. You can't tell in the photo above, but they both wore sneakers during ceremony - just in case they needed to run for their lives!

Donna recounted the time when National Geographic first hired her and Stephen for a photo shoot. The magazine let them choose the volcano they wanted to photograph. The two eventually decided on one located in Stromboli, Italy where they camped out for 39 days and survived 534 eruptions.

This expedition led to her and Stephen's own National Geographic television special titled Volcano Hunters!

Donna's theme of accomplishing what you want no matter the obstacle carried over to her story about her journey to Antarctica in 2009. It was on that trip that she met Barbara Jones, the 94-year-old only living child of Edward Nelson, the explorer who was part of the first official British exploration of Antarctica.

Donna became close to Barbara during the trip. She explained that she had always wanted to see the place where her father worked on the continent. Tragically, Barbara passed away during the trip.

Donna's volcanologist boots have been on display during the entire run of "Extreme Exposure." She said that even though she has a new pair, she wants her old ones back because they are so comfortable.

Donna ended her talk with words of inspiration and encouragement. No matter how old you are, make sure your dreams come true!

She stuck around to sign copies of the several books on volcanoes she has written over the years.

Thanks for the motivational talk, Donna. And don't worry,  your boots are on their way back to your home in Hawaii!

Watch Donna's entire IRIS Nights lecture here and learn more about her on her own website.

(All lecture images by Unique for the Space. All others are by Donna O'Meara)

Recent Developments - Michael Nichols releases iPad App!


Word came around to us that one of our featured photographers from EXTREME EXPOSURE is moving from the jungle to your iPad...seriously.

Most photography iPad apps so far have focuses on managing pictures, manipulating pictures, organizing photoshoots (timing them, producing them and even invoicing and getting model releases!). There is definitely a different target audience (with a very different skill set) than with iPhone apps (you say Hipstamatic, I say TiltShift Generator).

And then, of the growing number of photography 'fan' apps, most have been "iVersions" of publications. None of the rare apps that focus on the work of a single photographer have the depth and breadth as Mike's - extensive photogalleries, behind the scenes videos and access to more than 20 years of his work.

We can't help but take pride in one of our exhibitors - who is known for his long treks in the remote corners of the world's jungles - taking the lead in new technologies.

Extreme Exposure Erupts At The Space

You may have seen a video making the rounds this month of "extreme adventurer" Drew Bristol getting closer to a live volcano than most of us would ever want to get. The jaw-dropping footage was taken from inside the Marum volcano on Ambrym Island in the South Pacific this past summer.

We have our own "volcano hunters," showing their work in the Extreme Exposure exhibition at the Photo Space, a new group exhibit featuring spectacular images from five unique talents in photography who work on the edge of wildlife, climate and environment.

Husband and wife team Donna & Stephen O'Meara have been photographing volcanoes all over the world for the last 25 years. They also enjoy getting as close to volcanoes as they possibly can, but they take it a step further - they live on top of Kilauea, a live volcano in Hawaii!

Come see photos by the The O'Mearas as well as photographers Clyde Butcher, Michael Nichols and Paul Nicklen up close and personal at Extreme Exposure, opening Saturday, October 23rd at the Space and running through April 17, 2011.

Don't miss it!

Extreme Exposure: Our Newest Exhibition Opens At The Space


Young and old came to celebrate the opening of "Extreme Exposure," the sixth at the Space!

This collection of images focuses on five photographers who journey to the most dangerous places on Earth to capture photographs that will simply blow you away.

Photographer Clyde Butcher was in attendance and so was one half of husband and wife volcanologist/photographer team Donna and Stephen O'Meara. Stephen O'Meara was unable to join the festivities because he was at home (on top of the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii!) caring for the couple's dog, Daisy Duke (yup - that's probably the only time you will read 'home', 'volcano', 'dog', and 'Daisy Duke' in a single sentence!)

Here the two pose with Wallis Annenberg.

And here's guest curatorial adviser Cristina Mittermeier proudly showing off one of Paul Nicklen's stunning photos.

Annenberg Foundation Executive Director Leonard Aube took to the podium to help launch the "Extreme Exposure" IRIS Nights lecture series and also introduce...

...Clyde and Donna to the audience! Donna had a chance to say a few words to the large group of revelers...

...then Clyde followed with his unique Florida charm!

What's your most extreme experience? Visitors shared their own by writing on this white board at the Space. This little one is very young yet still had something to contribute!

Actress China Chow and MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch took in the great photography on our 7' x 14' hi-definition screen.
(photo by Stefanie Keenan for the Space)

Donna, ever so friendly, hangs out with staff members from the Space!

Here are some of the Annenberg folks who were responsible for making the launch party such a great success!


(photo by Stefanie Keenan for the Space)

Come to the Photo Space to witness the great lengths some will go to so to capture stunning photographs. There's no risk to you - our photographers have already taken care of the danger part for you!

And don't forget to check out the IRIS Nights lecture series related to Extreme Exposure. Click here for the schedule.

(All images by Unique for the Space except where noted)

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