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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

'At Close Range'

Joel Sartore, A grizzly bear walks past a set of moose antlers at Katmai's Naknek Lake

I got a chance to watch most of the premiere broadcast of the PBS documentary "At Close Range with National Geographic" last night, and I thought it was marvelous. It's a straightforward documentary about the life of National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore (pronounced sar-TORE-ee). Doubtless, a good deal of the show's considerable appeal lies in Nebraskan Sartore's particular mixture of charm and humilty, the full-bore stops-out Nat'l-Geo-style wow factor of his pictures, and, to a lesser but still considerable extent, his beautiful heartland-American family. But the show also gives a great inside look at a certain type of professional long envied by amateurs—the full-time National Geographic nature and wildlife shooter—and it provides a lot of insight to everything from the family stresses to the risk of disease to the arduous process of editing 600 rolls of film down into one magazine article. It's a fine documentary, well done, very entertaining, enlightening, and I highly recommend it.

If you missed the premiere, you can wait until the next showing or purchase it on DVD.



Blogger laurencepak said...

i am really interested in getting it very photography oriented?

7:47 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

"is it very photography oriented?"

I'd say it's more photographER oriented, but yes, it's certainly all about photography.


11:09 PM  
Blogger Ken Tanaka said...

I just discovered that I missed the first broadcast of this last night...nuts! (It will re-broadcast here this Friday at 3:30am.) It does look interesting.

Nearly 30 years ago, when I first began using a camera with sincerity, I did indeed fantasize about being a N/G photographer. Fast-forward to 2005 when I had an opportunity to spend an evening with someone, approximately my contemporary, who had done just that. While there was much for me to envy there was perhaps just as much for this photographer to lament having foregone for this career.

Immersive professional photography can be fascinating but, like so many other demanding endeavors, it requires a level of commitment that relatively few people are able to anticipate and even fewer are truly willing to invest for an entire career. It can be a very lonely life.

1:29 AM  
Blogger c60bob said...

I just returned from NYC after three days of video work. Dave (the Director of Photography) told me he spent last night in his hotel room, in a warm bath with the the TV pulled into view watching (and loving) the Sartore program.

4:34 AM  
Blogger Brambor said...

Thanks for the tip. I taped it and watched it. It was worth it. I would give my left nut for that job.

10:08 AM  

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