All posts for the month December, 2015

Into Africa: Frans Lanting’s profound lessons through photography

Published December 19, 2015 by Jeannette Louise Smith

Franz Lanting_Twilight of the GiantsRecently, I visited the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History to specifically see the Frans Lanting National Geographic Society INTO AFRICA Photography Exhibition.

Although Frans Lanting photography is a testament to the beauty and diversity of African wildlife it is  furthermore and foremost a confirmation and demonstration of:

  • the sentience of and recognizably distinct societies of animals
  • the recognition of non-human animals as equal to the human animal
  • the reciprocal relationship between the human animal, non-human animals, and the Earth
  • the urgency of preservation and conservation from devastation of our planet and natural resources

Every art placard describing the large scale photos and two videos in the exhibit reflects these essential lessons.

For ALL animal and earth activists, our first and immediate task at hand is clear: EDUCATION. Education leads to appreciation. Appreciation leads to understanding. Understanding leads to compassion. And compassion leads to practice.

As I reflect on the exhibit, I am in awe and reverence of how non-human animals can co-exist with one another (discounting natural predatory dangers by evolutionary design). Their ability to communicate with their own species and their ability to communicate with us – if we look, listen, and learn their language – is profoundly moving.

We can be like non-human animals too, if we take the time and put in the effort to listen and learn…before it’s too late.

Frans Lanting’s National Geographic Society INTO AFRICA Photography Exhibition is on view through the summer of 2016 at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. Admission is FREE. Read more:

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