“Eliot Porter: In the Realm of Nature” – book review by David Tatnall

Eliot Porter

“Wilderness must be preserved; it is a spiritual necessity”.
Eliot Porter.

Eliot Porter (1901-1990) was one of world’s the most significant large format photographers working in colour; his work had a profound effect and influence on photography and conservation in America.

In this book there are 95 superb reproductions of Porter’s work. Eighteen are Porter’s black and white photographs. The rest are the magical dye transfer colour photographs. Porter was a pioneer in this complex technique.

The photographs in this book are from the collection of Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser and Amon Carter Museum of American Art. In Australia Eliot Porter’s photographs have been collected by The National Gallery of Australia and The National Gallery of Victoria.

Landscape photographs in the book are from America, Mexico, Iceland and The Galápagos Islands, there are also fine examples of Porter’s bird photography.

Paul Martineau has written an excellent essay with illustrative photographs of Eliot Porter’s life, including one of Porter high up a tree photographing birds with a 4 x 5 camera. There is a forward by Michael Brune Executive Director of the Sierra Club (the oldest conservation organization in the USA), that helps explain Eliot Porter’s importance as a conservationist, and how his photographs played a pivotal role in many conservation campaigns in the USA.

The late Australian large format landscape photographer Peter Dombrovskis cites Eliot Porter as one of his influences.

The photographs in this book are reproduced beautifully, they truly represent the wonderful dye transfer process. Eliot Porter’s compositions are stunning. I recommend this book to any one interested in large format colour photography and the now historic dye transfer process.

Eliot Porter: In the Realm of Nature
Text by Paul Martineau
Published by J.Paul Getty Museum. Los Angeles. 2012
AUD 50.00

David Tatnall. June 2013

Eliot Porter rocksEliot Porter trees