‘Jungles’ Features Flora and Fauna of Far-Flung Habitats

Photographs capturing the beauty and fragility of many of Earth’s “forgotten Edens” are on display in the exhibition “Jungles: Photographs by Frans Lanting,” on view through Feb. 22 at Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History.

Presented in large-scale format, the 45 color images in the show depict the flora and fauna of habitats ranging from treacherous jungles to the lowlands of the Congo to the cloud forests of the Andes.

Lanting is one of the most celebrated nature photographers today. His award-winning images have appeared in major publications around the world. The New Yorker has written of the photographer: “No one turns animals into art more completely than Frans Lanting.”

The works in “Jungles” include such images as a gathering of rainbow macaws, a misty forest at dawn, an orangutan swinging through the trees, the giant Rafflesia flowers of Borneo, an aye-aye peeping out from behind a leaf and a passionflower with its “guardian ants.” The photographs are grouped according to four themes — “Water and Light,” “Color and Camouflage,” “Anarchy and Order” and “Form and Evolution” — and accompanied by quotations from such noted biologists as Charles Darwin and E.O. Wilson.

Lanting has traveled around the world for over 20 years to document nature. “The forest may be a naturalist’s paradise,” he writes, “but for a photographer, it can be a nightmare. Once you are inside, it is all blood, sweat and leeches. Whatever you take into the forest becomes part of the food chain, whether it is your equipment or yourself.”

The photographer has spent 12-hour days in a canvas blind 90 feet above the forest floor — risking becoming a lightning rod as thunderstorms approached — while attempting to remain motionless in the intense humidity while sweat bees drink from his skin. Down on the forest floor, he has crouched in waterholes for days on end, waiting for the perfect moment, while fungus sprouts on his equipment and leaf-cutter ants eat through his tent.

Located at 170 Whitney Ave., the Yale Peabody Museum is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, noon-5 p.m. Admission is $5-$7; free for those under age 3 and with Yale I.D. There is free admission for all 2-5 p.m. on Thursday. For more information, visit peabody.yale.edu or call (203) 432-5050.

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