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DAVID GULDEN THE CENTRE CANNOT HOLD


foreworD by susan minot

t is not easy to take a new picture of an animal in the wild. We are used to seeing photographs that glorify the beast. In his majesty he is immediately representative of his species, if not the beauty of all wildlife. We rarely see wild animals as individuals with, for lack of a better word, personalities. Literally focusing on the particularity of each being, David Gulden captures animals in all their glory and intrigue, without glorifying or romanticizing them. He knows Kenya and its wildlife well and it shows in the depth of his images. He has an artist’s eye, which offers beauty and transport in every picture. Only a skillful and sensitive photographer could capture so precisely the game-beading stare of a lioness running so rapidly the rest of her body is just a churning blur. The wings of an eagle learning to fly from its nest nearly brush the lens in what seems an impossible proximity. An elephant at a shallow drinking hole contemplates the photographer with the cool astonishment that a human dares be so near. So who is David Gulden? He is someone who tears the doors off vehicles so he can set his camera down at a unique low angle. He rigs trigger switches deep in the bush to snap night pictures of the elusive and endangered bongo, whom even the biologists studying them may never see. He climbs trees to leave cameras dangling over the nests of eagles, and then waits for hours a hundred feet away to snap the shutter. He is someone who knows art is long, that a deep knowledge of one’s subject is required before it can be mastered, and that, in the case of animals, an enormous amount of time must be devoted to waiting and watching and understanding. He has spent more than ten years doing just that. He has waited till his work was ready. Behind the pleasure of viewing these images, behind the enjoyment inherent in each depiction of these beings, there is another intensity—an unspoken argument for the appreciation and preservation of these beings. David Gulden’s photographs awaken us anew to the amazements in the natural world. We know that at this moment in time these amazements are precarious on the planet. We are reminded how worthy they are of our attention, our understanding, and our help.


foreworD by susan minot

t is not easy to take a new picture of an animal in the wild. We are used to seeing photographs that glorify the beast. In his majesty he is immediately representative of his species, if not the beauty of all wildlife. We rarely see wild animals as individuals with, for lack of a better word, personalities. Literally focusing on the particularity of each being, David Gulden captures animals in all their glory and intrigue, without glorifying or romanticizing them. He knows Kenya and its wildlife well and it shows in the depth of his images. He has an artist’s eye, which offers beauty and transport in every picture. Only a skillful and sensitive photographer could capture so precisely the game-beading stare of a lioness running so rapidly the rest of her body is just a churning blur. The wings of an eagle learning to fly from its nest nearly brush the lens in what seems an impossible proximity. An elephant at a shallow drinking hole contemplates the photographer with the cool astonishment that a human dares be so near. So who is David Gulden? He is someone who tears the doors off vehicles so he can set his camera down at a unique low angle. He rigs trigger switches deep in the bush to snap night pictures of the elusive and endangered bongo, whom even the biologists studying them may never see. He climbs trees to leave cameras dangling over the nests of eagles, and then waits for hours a hundred feet away to snap the shutter. He is someone who knows art is long, that a deep knowledge of one’s subject is required before it can be mastered, and that, in the case of animals, an enormous amount of time must be devoted to waiting and watching and understanding. He has spent more than ten years doing just that. He has waited till his work was ready. Behind the pleasure of viewing these images, behind the enjoyment inherent in each depiction of these beings, there is another intensity—an unspoken argument for the appreciation and preservation of these beings. David Gulden’s photographs awaken us anew to the amazements in the natural world. We know that at this moment in time these amazements are precarious on the planet. We are reminded how worthy they are of our attention, our understanding, and our help.


An early morning view from the Aberdare

A lone bull elephant dwarfed by massive hagenia

A zebra herd runs from an early morning hot-air

Rongai River, midafternoon. Masai Mara National

Orphaned caracal at a safari camp. Tsavo National

Captive lanner falcon. Athi Plains, southeast of

National Park in central Kenya, looking east down

trees searches for breakfast atop a giant plateau,

balloon eclipse. Mara Conservancy, Kenya, 2008.

Reserve, Kenya, 2011.

Park, Kenya, 2008.

Nairobi, Kenya, 2008.

the Honi River Valley (home of the endangered

11,000 feet above sea level. Aberdare National Park,

bongo) across to Mount Kenya. 2008.

Kenya, 2008.

Hungry and habituated in my safari camp.

Wattled plover nest. Mara Conservancy,

Mother leopard takes a late morning nap. Itong

Epiphytic orchids, Aerangis coriacea, on a parasitic

An alert bushbuck. Aberdare National Park,

Five flamingos and their shadows over Lake Natron,

Langata, outside of Nairobi, Kenya, 2009.

Kenya, 2008.

Hills, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya, 2006.

fig tree. Aberdare National Park, Kenya, 2008.

Kenya, 2007.

a salt lake in northern Tanzania, close to the Kenyan border. 2008.

Shaking off after a big afternoon downpour.

Self portrait—an elephant triggers a camera trap.

Two big, beautiful bulls in the Lengaiya Spring,

A bull elephant dusts himself with the fine volcanic

Thirsty elephant family after long walk across the

Crossing the parched earth of the Taru Desert.

Mara Conservancy, Kenya, 2007.

Honi River Valley, Aberdare National Park,

with Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance. Amboseli

ash from Mount Kilimanjaro. Amboseli National

desert. Amboseli National Park, Kenya, 2011.

Amboseli National Park, Kenya, 2011.

Kenya, 2008.

National Park, Kenya, 2011.

Park, Kenya, 2011.


An early morning view from the Aberdare

A lone bull elephant dwarfed by massive hagenia

A zebra herd runs from an early morning hot-air

Rongai River, midafternoon. Masai Mara National

Orphaned caracal at a safari camp. Tsavo National

Captive lanner falcon. Athi Plains, southeast of

National Park in central Kenya, looking east down

trees searches for breakfast atop a giant plateau,

balloon eclipse. Mara Conservancy, Kenya, 2008.

Reserve, Kenya, 2011.

Park, Kenya, 2008.

Nairobi, Kenya, 2008.

the Honi River Valley (home of the endangered

11,000 feet above sea level. Aberdare National Park,

bongo) across to Mount Kenya. 2008.

Kenya, 2008.

Hungry and habituated in my safari camp.

Wattled plover nest. Mara Conservancy,

Mother leopard takes a late morning nap. Itong

Epiphytic orchids, Aerangis coriacea, on a parasitic

An alert bushbuck. Aberdare National Park,

Five flamingos and their shadows over Lake Natron,

Langata, outside of Nairobi, Kenya, 2009.

Kenya, 2008.

Hills, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya, 2006.

fig tree. Aberdare National Park, Kenya, 2008.

Kenya, 2007.

a salt lake in northern Tanzania, close to the Kenyan border. 2008.

Shaking off after a big afternoon downpour.

Self portrait—an elephant triggers a camera trap.

Two big, beautiful bulls in the Lengaiya Spring,

A bull elephant dusts himself with the fine volcanic

Thirsty elephant family after long walk across the

Crossing the parched earth of the Taru Desert.

Mara Conservancy, Kenya, 2007.

Honi River Valley, Aberdare National Park,

with Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance. Amboseli

ash from Mount Kilimanjaro. Amboseli National

desert. Amboseli National Park, Kenya, 2011.

Amboseli National Park, Kenya, 2011.

Kenya, 2008.

National Park, Kenya, 2011.

Park, Kenya, 2011.


The Centre Cannot Hold Photographs and Essay by David Gulden Foreword by Susan Minot “The best African wildlife photos yet.” —Peter Beard

“Passion, Patience and Perseverance, the 3P’s of excellence, have been richly rewarded in the pages of this wonderful collection of images of Africa’s sacred wildlife. David Gulden’s dedication and hard work is to be hugely commended.” — Mirella Ricciardi

“Behind the pleasure of viewing these images, behind the enjoyment inherent in each depiction of these beings, there is another intensity—an unspoken argument for the appreciation and preservation of these beings. David Gulden’s photographs awaken us anew to the amazements in the natural world. We know that at this moment in time these amazements are precarious on the planet. We are reminded how worthy they are of our attention, our understanding, and our help.” — Susan Minot from her Foreword to the book

Having spent the last 20 years in Africa photographing wildlife alongside the likes of Peter Beard, David Gulden has come to understand that his endeavor is more than one to create appealing artworks, but instead to create a document of the declining landscape of all the precious creatures that live there. In 95 black-and-white photographs that feature tranquility, bursts of action, portraiture, and the natural canvas of the animals and their environments, he visualizes for us the concept of global change so famously described by William Yeats in his poem, “The Second Coming,” and from which the inspired title of this work derives. Join this extraordinary photographer and environmentalist, David Gulden, on a phenomenal personal yet universal safari that until the publication of this book would not have been possible except through actual travel; a safari where nature’s creatures are captured with greater intimacy and artistry than one would have thought possible.

About David Gulden

David Gulden is a native New Yorker who has spent at least half of every year for the past twenty in Africa, primarily in Kenya, where he has fastidiously photographed virtually every form of wildlife across the country from the Masai Mara to Lake Turkana. He has been educated in the United States and is a graduate of The Pomfret School in Vermont, the National Outdoor Leadership School in Wyoming, and Roanoke College in Virginia.

About Susan Minot

Susan Minot is an award-winning novelist and short-story writer whose books include Monkeys, Folly, Lust & Other Stories, and Evening, which was adapted into the feature film of the same name starring Meryl Streep. Minot was born in Boston and raised in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, attended Brown University, and received her MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. She currently lives with her daughter in both New York City and an island off the coast of Maine.

Specifications

192 pages, 9 ¾ x 13” paper-over-board hardcover 95 black-and-white duotone images $75; ISBN13: 0-9832702-8-7 Printed and bound in The United States of America

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The Centre Cannot Hold