Flower Hat Jelly, Monterey Bay Aquarium, California, Olindias formosa
© Frans Lanting
This exhibit is a photographic interpretation of life on Earth from the Big Bang to the present by acclaimed National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting. LIFE: A Journey Through Time is based on Lanting’s epic, multi-year project and features more than 70 images with texts and stories about the works as well as an innovative timeline of life on our planet. Exclusive to the traveling exhibition’s presentation at the Annenberg Space for Photography are an original documentary short film and four short videos that explore the human connection to life around us. LIFE explores the story of our planet from its earliest beginnings to its present diversity, captured in images that evoke the complex wonder of nature through time.
For The LIFE Project, Lanting set off on a journey of photographic discovery that led him to remote locations such as Western Australia’s Shark Bay and Siberia’s Kamchatka Peninsula to capture primordial landscapes—and into unique museum collections to explore fossils and microscopic life. The result is a celebration of planet Earth that aims to educate and inspire through images and stories of the incredible biodiversity that surrounds us.
The exhibit is organized in sections:
• “Elements” interprets Earth’s early history and shows interactions among the five classical elements: earth, air, fire, water and space
• “Beginnings” traces life from single-celled origins into more complex forms in the sea
• “Out of the Sea” evokes the time when life first ventured ashore
• “On Land” covers the period when plants and animals colonized solid ground
• “Into the Air” highlights the evolutionary innovations of birds and flowering plants, ending with the cataclysmic events that caused the demise of the dinosaurs
• “Out of the Dark” portrays the rise of mammals
• “Planet of Life,” envisions the collective force of life as a sixth element shaping our planet
An outdoor component of the exhibition, “Future of Life,” portrays present-day challenges to global biodiversity caused by the impact of humans on the planet in an era many scientists now call the Anthropocene.
An original documentary film commissioned by the Annenberg Space for Photography and produced by award-winning director Steven Kochones and Arclight Productions takes viewers on a journey through time via the remarkable images and story of Lanting’s The LIFE Project, while recounting Lanting’s own evolution from wildlife photographer to visual chronicler of life on Earth. The film will include interviews with Lanting in his Santa Cruz studio; natural history writer, editor, videographer and longtime Lanting partner and collaborator Christine Eckstrom; horseshoe crab expert Dr. Carl Shuster; Harvard University evolutionary biologist Dr. Andrew Knoll; National Geographic Senior Photo Editor Elizabeth Krist; Ecological Research & Development Group President Glenn Gauvry; Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) geologist Dr. Abigail Allwood; JPL Mars Program Office Chief Scientist Dr. Richard Zurek; pioneering sociobiologist Dr. Edward O. Wilson; UC Santa Cruz Institute of Marine Sciences Director Dr. Gary Griggs; and renowned primatologist and conservationist Dr. Russell Mittermeier.