This book has an ambitious title: THE WORLD. It is by no means to imply that I have been everywhere and seen everything. There are many places I have not yet visited and others where I have not taken photographs professionally—places where my iPhone creates the only memory I want. I very rarely take images of cities, for instance. That’s because my eye has always been drawn to nature and remote places. This book documents some of those experiences. If it is an incomplete version of this planet, that’s because it is a very personal rendering of what I have witnessed of this world and have enjoyed.
Although I’ve seen around 180 of the world’s countries, this book isn’t trying to be a bucket list, which is a style of travel I feel uncomfortable with. In the course of my travels, I have seen too much evidence of the damage made by tourism-for-tourism’s sake. So while this book is above all a celebration of nature, I need to address my misgivings upfront. I often worry if I should be taking these pictures, and that if in doing so, I’m encouraging people to come to these places and contributing to the ecological demise. I also wonder if it is morally wrong to travel to ends of the Earth and pretend we were never there. We were, and so was I. Do I feel any guilt about disturbing nature’s silence? Contributing to climate change? Of course, but I also feel compelled to capture the unbelievable beauty of this planet.
This book is my grateful homage to all that glorious diversity. Part of me wants to keep these landscapes hidden, a secret shared between myself and the wilderness. But I also hope that in showing these pictures—and in beginning to take people to my favourite spots in the world on private tours—more people will be motivated to protect something of the beauty, and fragility, they see in the world.
- Michael Poliza
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