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In the Heart of the Dark Night.
Photographs by George Shiras. Text by Jean-Christophe Bailly and Sonia Voss.
Editions Xavier Barral, Paris, France, 2015. In English. 96 pp., 50 duotone illustrations, 6½xx1".
 
Selected as one of the Best Books of 2015 by:
Publisher's Description

Selected as Book of the Week by Cecile Poimboeuf-Koizumi

Though sometimes dubbed "the first wildlife photographer," George Shiras is not a prominent name in the history of photography. While his photos were shown at the Paris World Fair of 1900, Shiras--also a lawyer and politician--did not consider himself an artist; his goal was, above all, to document wildlife from the pre-environmental perspective to which he dedicated his life.

In 1893, Shiras perfected the procedure of nocturnal flash photography in various regions of the US and Canada. It was in contact with hunters--and also with Native American guides or trappers--that he became initiated in the ways of wildlife, eventually "exchanging the rifle for the camera," as he himself put it.

Despite his aesthetic innocence, Shiras succeeded in capturing the first night-time wildlife photos ever created, thanks to both his use of flash photography and camera-trap equipment. This gorgeous hardcover compiles his prescient nocturnal photography.

George Shiras III (1859-1942) was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. He served as a member of the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives in 1889 and 1890 and was elected to the 58th Congress. After his time in Congress, Shiras became engaged in biological research and wildlife photography; he was a member of the Boone and Crockett Club, a conservation organization founded by Theodore Roosevelt. In 1935, he published a two-volume set of over 960 of his wildlife photographs with the National Geographic Society.


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