Respectfully Intruding II

Photography Review
John Wiseman | RESPECTFULLY INTRUDING II
M16 Artspace | Until 22 November 2020

John Wiseman is an award-winning professional wildlife and nature photographer. The images in RESPECTFULLY INTRUDING II have been selected from many captured in various countries, including Ecuador, Kenya, Botswana, India, and Namibia, during over fifteen years of travel.

Wiseman says “I love photography. I can’t think of any other art form that provides such wonderful satisfaction. Searching for that special moment in time that gives us such a rich and enduring memory is a wonderful reward. A respectful intrusion.”

Despite running a successful financial planning business, Wiseman’s constant quest to be creative led him into photography. His interest grew from watching friends who worked as photographers. He started taking photos of family and friends fifteen years ago. As his eye and skill improved, he became serious about photographing landscapes, then wildlife.

An initial exhibition, RESPECTFULLY INTRUDING, was held at Brisbane’s Maud Gallery in 2014. Describing it in his wotwedid blog at that time, Doug Spowart wrote that it “presents an invitation to go on safari and peek over his shoulder while he observes and photographs …. Luckily for us his invitation is to the gallery and the trials and complexities of journeys to exotic places are made easy for us”. That remains the same here.

There is one delicious landscape – the Cloud Forest of El-Oro in the Ecuadorian Andes. This area is very important for the presence of various famous birds, such as the El Oro Parakeet. But mostly, the images are of elephants, big cats, rhinos, and zebra. Plus, hummingbirds, toucan, parakeets, flowers, and frogs.

Most of us have seen numerous images of wild animals – in TV documentaries, and in specialist magazines – but good ones in an exhibition are something else for we can take our time to explore the details.

This photographer clearly takes time exploring his subjects and seeking to capture something special. He told me he does not take lots of shots using a rapid-fire shutter approach, with a view to search through the results for good images. Rather, Wiseman thinks about what he wants to reveal in his images, seeks to use the available light and other elements, and endeavours to compose in a way that is appropriate for each subject.

The first image to attract my attention was Mother & Son, a portrait of a cow elephant with her calf. This large print would look stunning filling a small wall at the end of a walkway. Those walking towards it would never tire of seeing it.

Mother & Son © John Wiseman

To look at Zebras by Moonlight is to immediately feel calm and composed. It simply is an image of serenity.

Zebras by Moonlight © John Wiseman

Arrow Head & Cubs will surely make you smile. It features a mother and the heads of her cubs, almost looking like a three-headed animal.

Arrow Head & Cubs © John Wiseman

Difficult to photograph, and beautifully coloured, hummingbirds are captured hovering near to equally colourful plants.

Rufous-Tailed Hummingbird © John Wiseman

A print, Toucan in Rain, is displayed alongside one of another toucan that is dry. There is a clear sense of design in these photographs of birds and other smallish creatures.

Toucan in the Rain © John Wiseman

Exhibited prints of larger animals are appropriately large. When we move into the parts of the gallery displaying images of smaller creatures, the prints also become smaller.

A copy of Wiseman’s award-winning, limited-edition Ecuador book is also on display. Handle it carefully using the cotton glove provided.

Finally, before you leave, stand quietly before an image of TIM, one of the elephants with the biggest tusks in the world and probably the most famous, who died just a few days after Wiseman’s shots were taken.

This review is also available on the Canberra Critics circle blog here.

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