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I started my career as a photographer back in the Netherlands where I grew up and I began to photograph in a city park in Rotterdam where I was a student at the time, doing moody pictures of the four seasons and writing haikus to go with them. And that was in the early 1970s and then I didn't really get into wild life photography until last year I had moved into California. And that was in the late 70s. I had completed an education in environmental economics, I was very interested in ecosystem services, it was a very novel concept at that time, and came to UCSC to study environmental impact planning. But you know the West Coast has a lot to offer as we all know. And I really became more interests in a photographic career than in pursuing EIRs and EISs which are just big reports with lots of data in them. So here is an early image. When I was perusing elephant seals at AÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â±o Nuevo and it led to interesting images. And then the world got bigger and bigger and I started doing assignment work for the Geographic - this is an on location shot from the field work I did in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. And the encounters got a little bit more intense, hippo not happy with my presence. And yet I would my thinking and my and my photography has undergone a steady change and development since those early days, you know. At first I was interested in wild life photographing animals one at a time. And then gradually I realized that yeah, through the power of media and applications of photography that I could reach out to a heck of a lot of people. And I began to look at animals as ambassadors for ecosystems. And here is two images that give a wider perspective. Previous one was a wandering albatross in South George Island and this is an image from a project I did on Madagascar where all these lemurs live. And so my thinking grew along with the perspectives of scientists and conservationist and ecosystems were were replaced as a concept to look at nature with the term biodiversity in the mid 1990s. And this two three people who thought of that term almost simultaneously was Ed Wilson and Tom Lovejoy and somebody else and biodiversity has been our reigning paradigm for referring to the complexities of life on earth. It's really more looking at nature as a web of relations rather than counting species by themselves. And the Geographic asked me in the late 90s if I wanted to illustrate the concepts biodiversity for a theme issue that the magazine wanted to publish just before we would leave the 20th century and go into the 21st century. So that really forced me to think much more conceptually about nature than I had done before. And here is a couple of images that I made for that assignment. A cloud forest in Peru, where really there is no subject that stands out, it's really about how all these living organisms coexist in the same place. The assignment is also about the ongoing process of exploration and discovery. This fellow studies katydids, tropical grasshoppers and is literally in the act of you touching a new species that had not been described yet. And he knew because he knows them all. I do a lot of research for these assignments and independent project. And I had learnt that these Horseshoe crabs have an amazing life history that has been around for 100s of millions of years. This is a photo I made in a museum in of a fossilized Horseshoe crab 150 million years old. And looks exactly like moderns crabs and I had that you know, knowledge in the back of my head one evening when I was there at the tide line this is one of the spring tide evenings and thousands of crabs came out of the water and then the light faded, all references to modern New Jersey disappeared and I realized, I wasn't looking at the present anymore. I was looking at the solarium. I was looking at an era when the very first animal was just making their way out of the water and that's how long these crabs have been around. And after I made this image I thought, that's an interesting idea, looking at the present but seeing the past. And and that's when the idea for this project was born. I thought well, if I could visualize the past in New Jersey, what might I be able to do if I start researching other locations and and that became the start for this journey through time. This image really symbolizes you know, the the beginnings of life. All the key ingredients are are there. There is energy from the sun, there is warm water, there is a substrate and there is a very interesting mix of minerals and other ingredients. So the story of life is is of course is made up of you know, big leaps, you know, innovations and then there periods of consolidation and big thinkers like Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge kind of summed it all up in the theory of punctuated equilibrium. But you know that's their terminology. I think more simplistically in terms of innovation, you know, were the big breaks. Well, you know, life came out of the water, that was a big break. And that's symbolized by this image. The tracks of a giant sea reptile, big dudes, leather bags. Biggest of all living sea turtles, the most ancient ones as well and they really look like sea monsters when you sit around the beach in Surinam and this thing comes out of the water. It really is like an apparition. True land plants are rose leafless at first, this is another big break. Of course in water plants can you know use use water. They are buoyant - on land they have to fight against gravity and the vascular system was a was a real break through. And once plants learn how to do that, once they learn how to stay upright they grow in size and shape and the first trees came along. And you know, according the geologists, among the first trees were the giant club mosses which are still around in the Australian forests. They are just a couple of inches long and and they just lie flat along the ground these days. So I wanted to show them as trees, so I had to find some big specimens and made this one look as if it's a real tree. The fundamental forms of ferns followed, bearing spores that foreshadow seeds. And together ferns and likens began to cover the earth. All land life turned stuff, jaws formed first, teeth come later. This is a giant tortoise in a Galapagos island slumbering in a pool. And in that transition from amphibians to reptiles of course we have another innovation with eggs with eggs life had a chance on land to shelter a new life in the making. That's how it broke away from water. And this is all text book biology of course. But I had forgotten all these stuff and I plunged into it and to me it was just like revelation after revelation. Oh that's how it happened. And then of course I had to look for images that simplified this complex phenomenon. In birds life gains new mobility. Flamingos cover continents. Migrations get on their way. Flamingos as we all know through DNA analysis were among the very earliest families of birds that evolved and they haven't really changed that much. Their habitat has been unchanged. The first birds witnessed the emergence of flowering plants. It's a pure coincidence. Birds the very first birds have been pinpointed to 150 million years ago. The very first flowering plants are dated to 140 million years ago. So complete coincidence but yet there is something nice about that because nature gets very lyrical in birds and in flowering plants. So we link them in the in the book and you know, sometimes birds and flowers can even be made to look like one another such as a Water Lilly. 65 million years ago the earth was fairly complete. There were reptiles, big reptiles on land in the water and in the air. There were ecosystems of all kinds and then something big hit the earth and of course we all know what that was. That was that asteroid that hit planet earth and they were all vanished in flames. And you know this was only discovered 20-25 years ago by two scientists from UC Berkley who at first were ridiculed oh no, it can't be. And the most big discoveries take a while before they sink into the world of science. But it was not a pleasant time to be here, it was very smoky for a couple of years and the skies cleared, a new world was born. A world fit for mammals. Mammals have been around but you know, not really been able to diversify much because they were out competed by by reptiles or so the conventional wisdom goes. But when the evolutionary slate was wiped clean, mammals had their chance and they owe their success to this innovation, jaws, the teeth teeth had adapted very easily to different habitat, different needs and you know, these are the jaws that belong to a giant hedgehog that lived in the Mediterranean in Europe and it became a huge predator the size of a fox, in the absence of other predators there. But that again is another story. In jungles new creatures emerged, primates, taking the shape of tarsiers at first. This is a small nocturnal primate with eyes as big as its brain, or may be I should say brains as small as it's eyes. It needs big eyes, because it's nocturnal and that's how it finds prey, primarily insect. And you don't even think of this as a primate unless you start looking closely at its hands. Tarsiers at first, lemurs not much later and it's in lemurs that learning became reinforced. Mothers started taking babies around on their backs and longer periods of socializing. Monkeys turn into apes. And then forest dry out once more, another climate change. This like the last separation between the two pieces of Gondwana and Australia broke away from Antarctica and South America drifted off from its own. New currents, new weather patterns and Africa became much drier and more savannas, fewer forests and that is when probably just a handful of bands of apes ventured out into the open. We don't know exactly where it occurred but may be we will figure that out in the next decades. And that is when going upright became a life style. These are bonobos and so you can ask yourself the question, who are we in this big story? Are we brothers of masculine chimps? Are we sisters of feminine bonobos? Well, I would say that we are all of them and more because of course every living thing on the face of this planet carries within itself the history of what came before, that is the continuity of life on earth. And the one thing that connects us all is of course DNA and it's just amazing what we are learning just in the last 10 years, from studying DNA and seeing the connections. We are all of them and more and we are all molded by the same force. And the blood veins in our hands it's the cross section through a human hand photographed in a medical collection. Those blood veins echo the coarse water traces on the earth. And our brains are celebrated brains, reflected rain into the tidle marsh, but it is those brains that make us just a little different, not as much as we would like to think, but just enough that they enable us to imagine us to imagine a whole earth. The entire animal world today lives on oxygen produced by algae, bacteria and plants. And their waste is our breath. And our exhalation is their breath, we are connected. Like water on land is with clouds in the sky. This earth as I now look at is alive as a whole. And it has made its own membrane, just like cells did once upon a time. And that membrane is an atmosphere that became a biosphere through the interactions between land, sea and air energized by all living things forming a whole that makes this earth different altogether and sustained by the collective power of life. Thank you.