And Here We Are: Stories from The Sixth Extinction

And Here We Are: Stories from The Sixth Extinction


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This collection of noir-ish photographs presents numerous elements of the natural world imperiled by humanity’s havoc. Bil Zelman highlights the impacts of non-native and invasive species, the current Holocene Extinction, and the fragile places where man and nature collide. The series consists of images of specimens and landscapes, shot at night, accompanied by researched and in-depth captions, that seem to walk the line between visual evidence and photographic art.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781942084754
Publisher: Daylight Books
Publication date: 01/07/2020
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 12.00(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Bil Zelman is an American photographer known for his powerful candid portraiture and noir landscapes. Los Angeles Times compares the "psychological density” of his work to the likes of Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand, and Larry Fink,- photographers that are "purposely getting it wrong in one way so as to get it right in another, disrupting visual order to ignite a kind of visceral disorder”. Bil's work has been exhibited in museums around the US and published in magazines worldwide.


This book is the antithesis of the never ending sunsets in National Geographic and the human and problem free fantasies of the BBC Life series and myriad posters, countless books etc. I would say that most people don't realize that we've fully entered the 6th extinction with background extinctions happening at a rate of about 10,000 times their normal number and, importantly, the fact that extinctions are extrememly rare with only five others known to have occured in the last 3.5 Billion years. Kind of a freaking really big deal and we're both living durring the very first scratches of it and a part of it everytime we orlder blufin tuna sushi (as I did last week), start our cars, or act human.

That said this book covers highly current topics as non-native and invasive species are just becoming household terms, fires raging across California and British Columbia are the norm ect. I’ll try not to double up on explanations as these are covered in my artists statement as well.

Why is this book special?
I found a very unique way to illustrate these problems and each image and topic was heavily researched before I took the photographs. None of the images are in the book because “they look cool”- Each has purpose. Each image will (probably) have an index image in the back with a brief paragraph of it's anthropogenic status and even a GPS coordinate for it. I also hope to have one or two essays written by well read biologists.

There a sense of craft to them- I didn’t shoot them with some small camera- I carried and backpacked gas powered generators and hugely powerful studio strobes into wilderness and shot them with a 50 megapixel sensor so they’ll print 8 feet across without breaking up- Each one was “doged and burned” like you would in a darkroom except I did it by placing small pieces of tinfoil and cardboard over the lights instead of relying on photoshop- They were truly an enormous undertaking.

The images are presented as a blend of art and science- meant to feel like specimens but still intriguing enough visually to hang on a gallery wall.

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