Nature photographer Frans Lanting — best known for his wildlife images in books and magazines such as National Geographic, Life, and Audubon — has recently completed a huge project that looks backward and forward at the same time. Begun more than seven years ago, LIFE: A Journey Through Time is just that: Lanting looks at the vast subject of life on Earth via selective images of natural phenomena, what he calls “slices in time.” Taschen has just brought out a lush coffee-table book by that title, and a traveling exhibit opens September 22 at the natural history museum in Leiden, Netherlands. But the project also has high-tech applications: A dedicated Website, www.lifethroughtime.com, is slated to launch September 15, providing an interactive, flash-driven companion to the book. And Lanting collaborated with composer Philip Glass to create a multimedia orchestral performance called LIFE MUSIC, in which the imagery is merged with a live symphonic rendention of Glass’s score.
“People ask if this is like Koyaanisquatsi,” says Lanting, referring to the 1983 film scored by Glass. “Yes and no. There is no explicit narration — it’s blending of images and music with an implicit story line.”