Inspired by artists such as Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz and Henri Cartier-Bresson, who wrote that great photographs come about in the decisive moment when the head, heart and eye find perfect alignment in an axis of the spirit, celebrated anthropologist and photographer Wade Davis has travelled the world in pursuit of the wonder of the human imagination as brought into being by culture.
In Wade Davis: Photographs, Davis selects 150 of his favourite photographs from the thousands he has taken in the course of his forty-year career. Intimate portraits of family and community life, they are universal in feel, although they represent an enormous diversity of geographical locations and cultural backgrounds. Each one captures a rich story about the human condition, and invites the viewer to experience scenes of family, magic, love and tradition.
Throughout his career, Davis's central aim has been to convey a visceral sense of the mystery and wealth of human culture, the embodiment of all that we are and all that we have created as a species. Through his words and photographs, he sheds light on the great peril that many traditions face, and the danger of losing forever the rich cultural heritages that have sustained us for thousands of years.
About the author
Wade Davis is professor of anthropology and the B.C. Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia. Between 1999 and 2013 he served as Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and is currently a member of the NGS Explorers Council and Honorary Vice-President of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Named by the NGS as one of the Explorers for the Millennium, he has been described as “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity.” In 2014, Switzerland’s leading think tank, the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute of Zurich, ranked him 16th in their annual survey of the top 100 most influential global Thought Leaders.
An ethnographer, writer, photographer, and filmmaker, Davis holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his PhD in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University. Mostly through the Harvard Botanical Museum, he spent over three years in the Amazon and Andes as a plant explorer, living among fifteen indigenous groups in eight Latin American nations while making some 6000 botanical collections. His work later took him to Haiti to investigate folk preparations implicated in the creation of zombies, an assignment that led to his writing The Serpent and the Rainbow (1986), an international best seller later released by Universal as a motion picture. In recent years his work has taken him to East Africa, Borneo, Nepal, Peru, Polynesia, Tibet, Mali, Benin, Togo, New Guinea, Australia, Colombia, Vanuatu, Mongolia and the high Arctic of Nunavut and Greenland.
Davis is the author of 275 scientific and popular articles and 20 books including One River (1996), The Wayfinders (2009), The Sacred Headwaters (2011), Into the Silence (2011) and River Notes (2012). His photographs have been widely exhibited and have appeared in 30 books and 100 magazines, including National Geographic, Time, Geo, People, Men’s Journal, and Outside. He was the co-curator of The Lost Amazon: The Photographic Journey of Richard Evans Schultes, first exhibited at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. In 2012 he served as guest curator of No Strangers: Ancient Wisdom in the Modern World, an exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles.
His many film credits include Light at the Edge of the World, an eight-hour documentary series written and produced for the National Geographic. A professional speaker for 30 years, Davis has lectured at over 200 universities and 250 corporations and professional associations. In 2009 he delivered the CBC Massey Lectures. He has spoken from the main stage at TED five times, and his three posted talks have been viewed by 3 million. His books have appeared in 20 languages and sold approximately one million copies.
Davis is the recipient of 11 honorary degrees, as well as the 2009 Gold Medal from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society for his contributions to anthropology and conservation, the 2011 Explorers Medal, the highest award of the Explorers Club, the 2012 David Fairchild Medal for botanical exploration, the 2013 Ness Medal for geography education from the Royal Geographical Society, and the 2015 Centennial Medal of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University. His recent book, Into the Silence, received the 2012 Samuel Johnson prize, the top award for literary nonfiction in the English language. In 2016 he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.
- Short-listed, Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award
- Winner, George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature
Other titles by Wade Davis
River of Dreams
Out of Concealment
Female Supernatural Beings of Haida Gwaii
Frozen in Time
The Fate of the Franklin Expedition
Cowboys of the Americas
A Natural and Human History of the Colorado
The Sacred Headwaters
The Fight to Save the Stikine, Skeena, and Nass
Into the Silence
The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest
What the Buddha Never Taught
20th Anniversary Edition of the National Bestseller
Why Ancient Wisdom Matters In The Modern World