A rare bird

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO - Affin­ity Wild Life, Affin­ity

On this week’s cover is not a painterly ab­strac­tion, but a real-life crea­ture — in an ad­mit­tedly un­usual po­si­tion. The crowned crane, its head tucked be­hind its plumage while groom­ing or at rest, is a large African bird, photographed by Brad Wil­son. The Santa Fe-based pho­tog­ra­pher ex­cels at mak­ing close-up high-res­o­lu­tion photos of leop­ards, ele­phants, rhinoceroses, owls, and other an­i­mals that em­body the idea that, as Wil­son writes, we are “part of a beau­ti­fully rich and in­ter­con­nected di­ver­sity of life.” Wil­son’s pho­to­graphs are on dis­play at Photo-eye Gallery (541 S. Guadalupe St.). On the cover is African Crowned Crane #4, Los An­ge­les, CA, 2011, archival pig­ment ink.

Brad Wil­son’s ar­rest­ing pho­to­graphs of wild an­i­mals are most no­table for their great clar­ity and pu­rity in por­tray­ing the beau­ti­ful range of Earth’s crea­tures. In great de­tail, we wit­ness the fierce­ness of the black leop­ard, the thought­ful gaze of the chim­panzee, the quiet power of the white rhinoceros, and the in­de­ci­pher­able stare of an African ele­phant in an up-close shot that em­pha­sizes the pachy­derm’s deeply wrin­kled char­ac­ter. Prints from the artist’s se­ries are shown in an exhibition open­ing at Photo-eye Gallery on Fri­day, Dec. 2.

Wil­son, a Santa Fe res­i­dent for the past 12 years, stud­ied art at the Univer­sity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and then ze­roed in on photography with ses­sions at the Maine and Santa Fe pho­to­graphic work­shops. He moved to New York City to work with pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­phers and es­tab­lish his own ca­reer. He be­gan the work in late 2010. Many of his best im­ages ap­pear in his book which was pub­lished in 2014 by Pres­tel, with text by the em­i­nent zo­ol­o­gist and artist Des­mond Mor­ris. spoke with Wil­son in mid-Novem­ber.

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