Art Wolfe

Drawn from his 2007 PBS series and recent companion volume (Mountaineers, $24.95), the images in Travels to the Edge are pure Art Wolfe. The West Seattle photographer knows what we—if we had his passport and budget—would try to capture, only not as well. From Baja to Bhutan, he reliably frames the world as we’d like to see it: pristine, unpolluted, never crowded with tourists, where the natives are always friendly and the snow is always white. There’s no trash or environmental despoliation; leave those topics to Chris Jordan or Edward Burtynsky. Wolfe’s world is apolitical and unapologetically pretty, a world you want to visit without guilt. It’s easy to dismiss his work—industry, really—as mere pictorialism. Yes, everything’s a little too perfect, a little too arranged and color-adjusted. But Wolfe’s not a photojournalist or social documentarian. He’s an über-tourist who, after three decades’ hard work, brings back the souvenirs few of us can afford to shoot. BRIAN MILLER

Wed., Oct. 28, 7 p.m., 2009

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