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Classic Africa Hardcover – December 1, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-3832793746 ISBN-10: 3832793747 Edition: Mul

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: teNeues; Mul edition (December 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3832793747
  • ISBN-13: 978-3832793746
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 13.5 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,564,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"…might change the way you think about photography!" ~The New York Times

More About the Author

"...might change the way you think about photography!" ~The New York Times


Michael Poliza has never been a man to do things by half measures. That might sound like a cliché, but his life is certainly not. His entire track record shows somebody who jumps into projects with both feet, immersing himself completely in the subject matter and fast becoming seen as a leader in whatever field he chooses to focus. 'Google' his name now and you'll find repeated reference to his incredibly successful books. Yet just dig a little deeper, and you'll find that a few years ago his name was in lights in the business world - and before that on the television screen.

Michael just grins when somebody mentions he's lived three lives. To an outsider, the three might seem highly divergent. But look more closely and they have very similar themes, all shaped by his uncanny ability to detect a new direction in its early phases, and then to work unstoppably in mastering the subject matter and pushing the boundaries of what is deemed possible or probable.

The themes the three lives have in common are media and electronic gadgets. This man has lived the digital age to the full.

So the first of Michael's lives was in television. He modestly tells the story of somebody wanting to woo his older sister and casting her baby brother in a television role. Whatever the start, Michael was obviously both talented and hardworking. By the time he was a teenager, he was as well known as any actor could possibly be in the Germany of that time, and appeared in more than 100 television shows and films.

His second incarnation was as a businessman. In the USA, where he spent time as an exchange student, Michael first caught a glimpse of quite how digital the future would be. Returning to Germany, he petitioned IBM to grant him an agency, despite his youth. His relentlessness paid off, and the young man became a slave to his pager and the needs of his clients, continuing to build an impressive business in the IT sector.

In 1997 he began his third life focusing on digital media. Selling his companies for a small fortune in stock, he had planned to buy a yacht and sail around the world. But then the dot.com crash happened, and suddenly IT stocks plummeted in value - today, Michael jokes about how he watched the yacht he intended to build get shorter by a foot every day. Not being a man to give up, he hatched a grand plan: the Millennium Starship voyage. Journalists and photographers would be invited to join him on board to document the state of the world's wild locations at the turn of the millennium. Sponsors like SONY, Microsoft, Deutsche Telekom, Olympus and the WWF helped to foot the bill, with the output broadcast daily on the Internet and followed by millions of people around the world - an unheard of achievement in those early digital days. STERN Magazine was the main media partner, publishing many features on the voyage.

And that's where Michael's publishing experience began, with the book of the voyage quickly becoming a bestseller of more than 50,000 copies. True to his IT roots and passions, he had already embraced digital photography, and his Starship book was the very first coffee table book to feature more than 50% digital content.

The voyage over, Michael sold the boat and was headed to Madagascar when he stopped by South Africa's 'Mother City' of Cape Town and promptly lost his heart to her. He built a house on the Atlantic Seaboard, using this as a base for countless visits to the nature reserves of Southern Africa. Much of this was thanks to a friendship with Wilderness Safaris, who gave him freedom of access in return for the use of his images - a truly symbiotic relationship.

The beautiful body of work that quickly developed was crying out to be shown to the rest of the world, and that's where publisher Hendrik teNeues came in. He quickly realized the value of his old friend's content, and the book AFRICA was launched to massive acclaim in 2006. "Poliza has taken wildlife and landscape photography to a new level," the Cape Times raved in September 2006. Great Britain's Daily Express was no less unequivocal: "If ever a book could take your breath away, this is the one." ABC's Good Morning America selected it as one of the best coffee table books of that year, with the New York Times acknowledging: "It is unlikely to change the way you think about Africa. But it might change the way you think about photography."
EYES OVER AFRICA followed suit to equal acclaim and success, being named as Book of the Year 2009 in both Germany and the USA. The result of an aerial journey from Michael's birthplace in Hamburg to his new house in Cape Town in his friend Stefan Breuer's helicopter, the book provided a bird's-eye view of the continent, showcasing nature's graphics and man's impact in surprising and powerful ways.

Finally done with the heat of Africa, Michael found himself focused on the world's cooler climes: Antarctica and the Arctic. The resultant ANTARCTIC, published in 2009, is a touching and opulent coffee table book, which insightfully portrays the beauty and fragility of polar life.

ANTARCTIC was a milestone in Michael's life for another reason: it took his eyes off Africa, and after finishing his work on the polar regions, he chose to return to Hamburg as his base, where he opened his own gallery. Not only did this provide a new headquarters for the Michael Poliza Photography enterprise, but it also offered opportunities to revive old friendships and associations, and in December 2009 he was named as an ambassador of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The intent all along had been to photograph Australia next, but Michael could not shake off his love of Africa. Having seen first-hand how the football World Cup could transform a country, he could not miss the opportunity to celebrate the first ever World Cup on African soil. So a new plan was quickly hatched: head back to South Africa for just a few months. Australia could wait. There was only one thing for 2010: SOUTH AFRICA.

Update: Michael has published CLASSIC AFRICA and KENYA in 2010 and 2011.

Customer Reviews

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This is a book of intimate portraits of these animals, shot in black and white.
Daniel G. Lebryk
If you love beautiful images of African animals and dream of experiencing an exciting safari, this book is it.
ardyk
The images are absolutely realistic but are so luminous that they appear like fine drypoint etchings.
Grady Harp

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Telcontar on June 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me start by saying that I own all of Michael's previous books and consider him in the top five best African wildlife photographers. His color images transcend being good photos and enter into the cateory of fine art. That's why I was so disappointed in this book. Michael's creative eye for black and white imagery is sadly lacking. The nuances so prevalent in his color photography are completely lost through his heavy-handed editing choices. To see what a true master of black and white African wildlife photography can accomplish, look at the books of Nick Brandt, A Shadow Falls and On This Earth: Photographs from East Africa.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. Eleazer on March 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Michael Poliza's photography of African wildlife is some of the best I have ever seen. A few years back I bought 'Africa' by Poliza. I was totally blown away. Amazing images from the air that reveal unique patterns and incredible close-up shots that really make you feel the animals. I also love Nick Brandt's images of African wildlife in black and white. With that backdrop, I couldn't wait to see how Micheal would treat Africa in B&W and sepia tones. Hmmm. Not so happy with the result. The images are okay and few are even special, but in general it seems the book gets carried away with toning and vignettes that don't always fit the image. The result is that not every picture draws you in or tells a story like Poliza's prior giant book on Africa.

Worth adding to the collection ... but only after you own Africa and at least one of Brandt's books such as A Shadow Falls
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Michael Poliza, German photographer of wildlife and landscapes, has created with the help of teNeues Publishing a rare treasure of a book. Simply titled CLASSIC AFRICA this book of photographs of the animals and landscapes of Africa is unlike any he has previously published. As he states in his Introduction titled 'I love Africa' he has taken his favorite photographs from 2002 to 2010, images originally captured in color, and altered those images to black and white by overexposing thee negatives and then manipulating them into duotone photographs. The results are inordinately artistic images of the many animals of Africa seen in detail an in near conversational positions as captured by Poliza both on land and by helicopter. The images are absolutely realistic but are so luminous that they appear like fine drypoint etchings.

Poliza adds a few lines of commentary throughout the book, thoughts that he elects to share with the viewer, hoping that some of the love he has for these animals and this country will be evident. There are images of a jackal mother and her cubs, many 'landscape' surveys of elephants in the wild mixed with amazing details of their trunks, their eyes, lions preening and preying, birds of a spectrum not seen before in one book, hilarious chimpanzees, lord-like giraffes, and eloquent vistas of the land alone as well as the land with animals and birds and other wildlife living in tenuous harmony.

The book as a book is an art piece: the cover of this very large and heavy book is made of rich brown suede with a single eloquent image of a leopard and the name of the book and the artist deeply embossed. This is as fine a book on animal imagery as is available. And Michael Poliza's reputation as a genius in wildlife photography is even further enhanced with this collection. His love for Africa could not be better expressed. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, December 10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel G. Lebryk TOP 50 REVIEWER on December 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Classic Africa is an amazing collection of duotone (black and white) photographs bound in an equally amazing book. Simply holding this book, lifting it, looking at it, feeling the cover; it is clear this book is special. It is the rare book that begs to be opened.

A strange thing has happened; National Geographic is what we all expect for wildlife photography. The pictures have to be stunning, incredibly detailed, glossy, and have vibrant color. Michel Poliza has taken a completely different approach to wildlife photography, a king of anti-National Geographic style. He finds the patterns, the simplicity, and the majesty of African animals. This is a book of intimate portraits of these animals, shot in black and white.

The photographs are stark and feel dry, much like the landscape where these animals live. The background is pure white or a very light gray. These are tight portraits, cropped very close. Something that doesn't work very well is the border around each image. Some form of manipulation has made the edges look ragged, like a water color painting. Flipping through the book quickly, it is apparent roughly ten or fifteen different kinds of screens were applied. This artifact is somewhat sad for such a gorgeous book.

The printing is exquisite. The extremely heavy weight (almost card stock) paper is a medium cream color. The images are set in a sepia tone, not a pure harsh black, but a very warm jet dark color. The binding is sewn and the large format (roughly 14 x 11) book opens flat to fully view the photographs. The layout is a single large picture on the right side and occasionally a small image on the left. Each picture is captioned on the left side. The layout is really pleasant and lets the images speak for themselves.
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