A life exposed
Clarke’s Beach nature photographer publishes online book
On July 12, 1835, Charles Darwin wrote to his mentor, J.S. Henslow, that he looked “ forward with joy and interest” to sailing for the Galapagos Islands.
One hundred and seventy-five years later, in 2010, Newfoundlander Dennis Minty made his own trip to the Galapagos Islands, an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed around the equator in the Pacific Ocean. Darwin was never far from Minty’s mind.
“ I thought about Darwin almost every day,” Minty said recently. “ I was looking at scenes very similar to what he saw. This made me conscious of following in his footsteps, so to speak.”
Darwin wrote up his research in a book, The Voyage of the Beagle. Minty captured what he saw in a book of stunning photographic images, Enchanted Light: The Galapagos Islands and Ecuador.
Photography has been Minty’s passion ever since he was given a Brownie camera at age 12. His forte is nature photography.
However, he was 50 before he turned his adolescent hobby into a living. “ I was always having to do other things to put bread and butter on the table,” he said. “I didn’t want to turn 80 and never have pushed the photography envelope harder.”
His first picture book was Wildland Visions: Newfoundland and Labrador, published by Breakwater in 1993.
His most recent book, Enchanted Light, came about as a result of a partnership Minty has with Adventure Canada, a travel company that does small expedition ship tours worldwide.
Minty is a tour leader, photographer and naturalist with Adventure Canada. Early last year, he was invited on a voyage to the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador. In November, he and his wife, Antje, took the 10-day tour.
At the time, Minty had no intention of doing a book. However, he “ended up with this body of work that I was quite pleased with,” he said. “ It was some of the most successful shooting I’d done in such a short period of time.”
Meanwhile, Minty heard about Blurb.com, an Internet publishing company which provides a print-ondemand service for the general public. The process appealed to him.
He already had several books published with a traditional publisher. “ The great thing about Blurb. com is nobody has to spend thousands of dollars in order to have a book produced,” Minty explained. “ You can have as few as one or several hundred.”
Back home in Clarke’s Beach, Minty decided to experiment with the online publishing process. He did the layout himself, using software provided by the publisher. Antje served as both writer and editor of her husband’s book. The book was available on the website not long after Minty e-mailed the publisher his electronic document. He receives a tiny royalty from each sale.
“ Nobody does books to make money,” Minty contended. “It’s got to do with exposure.”
He’s pleased with the online publishing process, stating, “ It put a lot of the control in my hands. I became totally autonomous.”
Enchanted Light revolves around the Galapagos Islands; Quito, the historic capital of Ecuador; and Otavalo, which is famous for textile weaving. The 80page book has 115-120 pictures, all of which provide a visual treat for the artistically weary.
As a non-traditional book, it will not be available in retail outlets. “ The base price is relatively high, so you can’t go crazy with the profit margin,” he explained.
Minty’s photography has been recognized through the years. Last year, for example, some of his work was selected to represent Canada at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China.
“ What it does for me personally is recognition and validation that my work has merit at a fairly high level.”
Minty describes his passion for photography as an “ immersion kind of process, which takes me away.” It inspires creativity in him. “I get so caught up in what I’m seeing that I’m in my own world,” he added.
What does he hope to impart to his viewers? To “elevate people’s consciousness; to inspire other people to appreciate the natural world in some way like I do; and to create awareness, and gain greater understanding of and appreciation for the fantastic natural world we live in,” he said.
Minty plans to “ continue this until I can’t move around anymore. I don’t see myself ever retiring from it.”
He and Antje are already working on another p i c t u re b o o k devoted to Newfoundland and Labrador.
Dennis Minty published Enchanted Light: The Galapagos Islands and Ecuador as an online, print-on-demand book.