Photography

‘Tales By Light’ is a tribute to the unmatched joys of the still photograph

The six-episode series profiles photographers who go to great lengths to get the perfect shot.

In 2015 Canon Australia partnered with National Geographic to create a six-episode series that focused on photographers who go to great lengths to get the perfect shot. A visual feast, Tales By Light has now been picked up by Netflix, and is available for worldwide streaming.

Each episode is devoted to the work of one photographer, and director Abraham Joffe painstakingly brings to life the ecstasy and disappointment of living in thrall to the still image. The five photographers (Art Wolfe gets two episodes) showcased here are experts with dedicated interests spanning deep ocean and high mountain, with a dash of culture and anthropology thrown in.

Photography has long occupied the nebulous space between art and journalism. But the best photographs reconcile this conflict, both capturing the moment as well as articulating the photographer’s vision. This is perhaps most true in the case of nature photography, where the image derives its power from the rarity of what is on offer.

Play
Tales By Light.

Episode one of Tales By Light follows Darren Jew, an underwater photographer who dives in the ocean near Tonga to capture humpback whales. We learn that the stunning pictures that adorn the pages of National Geographic can take hours or even days of careful preparation. The water has to be clear and the light has to be just right – but those are just hygiene factors. What should really work is a magical symmetry of motion that will give the picture a pleasing completeness.

The camera follows Jew as he goes deep into the ocean and reverts to the surface again and again, checking his work, repeatedly dissatisfied until, at last, he gets what he has been looking for: a majestic image of a whale and its calf nudging their snout against the water’s surface, their bodies aligned in almost-surreal equilibrium, the light playing enchantingly on their skin.

While the series pays heed to non-nature photographic journeys – there are episodes devoted to adventure sports and the ribald Holi of Varanasi – it is the most captivating when it focuses on man chasing beast.

In the jungles of Uganda, Art Wolfe follows mountain gorillas like a child besotted. In one scene, he is so taken with a cub that he does not notice its mother in the background. She promptly attacks his camera, and the look of fright and foreboding on Wolfe’s face makes for an intense precursor to his breaking into laughter. Sheer television gold!

Apart from the young and daring Krystal Wright, the photographers on Tales By Light are middle-aged men who have witnessed, and heartily welcomed, the rapid changes technology has wrought in their profession. With increased exposure times and the use of digital cameras, more precise and immediately viewable photos are now possible. Landscape photographer Peter Eastway approaches the densely populated penguin colonies in Antarctica without trepidation, safe in the knowledge of the bird’s benign nature and the many tricks his camera can play.

It is hard to pin down Tales By Light. Equal parts documentary and art project, it is a stunning testament to the power of the still image to capture lost and unknown worlds. But the camera can only do so much. The show is ultimately a tribute to the perseverance of the men and women who have spent their lifetime looking for that which hides from plain sight.

Art Wolfe in Tales of Light.
Art Wolfe in Tales of Light.
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Harvard Business School’s HBX brings the future of business education to India with online programs

HBX is not only offering courses online, but also connecting students to the power of its network.

The classic design of the physical Harvard Business School (HBS) classroom was once a big innovation – precisely designed teaching amphitheaters laid out for every student to participate from his or her seat with a “pit” in the center of the room from which professors orchestrate discussions analyzing business cases like a symphony lead. When it came to designing the online experience of HBX—the school’s digital learning initiative—HBS faculty worked tirelessly to blend these tenets of the HBS classroom pedagogy with the power of new technology. With real-world problem solving, active learning, and social learning as its foundation, HBX offers immersive and challenging self-paced learning experiences through its interactive online learning platform.

Reimagining digital education, breaking the virtual learning mold

Typically, online courses follow a one-way broadcast mode – lectures are video recorded and reading material is shared – and students learn alone and are individually tested. Moving away from the passive learning model, HBX has developed an online platform that leverages the HBS ‘case-based pedagogy’ and audio-visual and interaction tools to make learning engaging.

HBX courses are rarely taught through theory. Instead, students learn through real-world problem-solving. Students start by grappling with a business problem – with real world data and the complexity in which a business leader would have to make a decision – and learn the theory inductively. Thus even as mathematical theories are applied to business situations, students come away with a greater sense of clarity and perspective, whether it is reading a financial report, understanding why a brand’s approach to a random sample population study may or may not work, or how pricing works.

HBX Platform | Courses offered in the HBX CORe program
HBX Platform | Courses offered in the HBX CORe program

“Learning about concepts through real-life cases was my favorite part of the program. The cases really helped transform abstract concepts into observable situations one could learn from. Furthermore, it really helped me understand how to identify situations in which I could use the tools that HBX equipped me with,” says Anindita Ravikumar, a past HBX participant. India’s premier B-school IIM-Ahmedabad has borrowed the very same pedagogy from Harvard. Learning in this manner is far more engaging, relatable, and memorable.

Most lessons start with a short 2-3 minute video of a manager talking about the business problem at hand. Students are then asked to respond on how they would handle the issue. Questions can be in the form of either a poll or reflections. Everyone’s answers are then visible to the ‘classroom’. In the words of Professor Bharat Anand, Faculty Chair, HBX, “This turns out to be a really important distinction. The answers are being updated in real-time. You can see the distribution of answers, but you can also see what any other individual has answered, which means that you’re not anonymous.” Students have real profiles and get to know their ‘classmates’ and learn from each other.

HBX Interface | Students can view profiles of other students in their cohort
HBX Interface | Students can view profiles of other students in their cohort

Professor Anand also says, “We have what we call the three-minute rule. Roughly every three minutes, you are doing something different on the platform. Everyone is on the edge of their seats. Anyone could be called on to participate at any time. It’s a very lean forward mode of learning”. Students get ‘cold-called’ – a concept borrowed from the classroom – where every now and then individuals will be unexpectedly prompted to answer a question on the platform and their response will be shared with other members of the cohort. It keeps students engaged and encourages preparedness. While HBX courses are self-paced, participants are encouraged to get through a certain amount of content each week, which helps keep the cohort together and enables the social elements of the learning experience.

More than digital learning

The HBS campus experience is valued by alumni not just for the academic experience but also for the diverse network of peers they meet. HBX programs similarly encourage student interactions and opportunities for in-person networking. All HBXers who successfully complete their programs and are awarded a credential or certificate from HBX and Harvard Business School are invited to the annual on-campus HBX ConneXt event to meet peers from around the world, hear from faculty and business executives, and also experience the HBS campus near Cambridge.

HBXers at ConneXt, with Prof. Bharat Anand
HBXers at ConneXt, with Prof. Bharat Anand

Programs offered today

HBX offers a range of programs that appeal to different audiences.

To help college students and recent graduates prepare for the business world, HBX CORe (Credential of Readiness) integrates business essentials such as analytics, economics, and financial accounting. HBX CORe is also great for those interested in an MBA looking to strengthen their application and brush up their skills to be prepared for day one. For working professionals, HBX CORe and additional courses like Disruptive Strategy, Leading with Finance, and Negotiation Mastery, can help deepen understanding of essential business concepts in order to add value to their organizations and advance their careers.

Course durations range from 6 to 17 weeks depending on the program. All interested candidates must submit a free, 10-15 minute application that is reviewed by the HBX admissions team by the deadlines noted on the HBX website.

For more information, please review the HBX website.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of HBX and not by the Scroll editorial team.