Michael Poliza is the first to admit that his new monograph, The World (teNeues, 2019), has an ambitious title. “It is by no means to imply that I have been everywhere and seen everything,” he writes in the introduction to the book. “I very rarely take images of cities, for instance,” he confirms.
The book takes viewers along on Poliza’s voyages to Australia and New Zealand, to Vietnam and Myanmar, to the west of the USA and northern Canada, to Bolivia and the Galapagos Islands, to Antartica, and through Africa. Drawn to nature and remote places, the book documents what Poliza has witnessed and the joy he experiences encountering rarely seen and sublime corners of the Earth.
“While I have barely scratched the surface of what our planet has to offer, I nonetheless hope that this collection of photography––almost all of it published for the first time––is a portrayal of its variety, patterns, and beauty,” writes Poliza.
While the book is first and foremost a celebration of nature, Poliza is upfront about his misgivings. He writes, “I often worry if 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.” Ultimately, Poliza believes that Earth will outlast and survive what humans throw at her. It’s the human suffering our actions create that worries him.
By taking viewers to his favorite spots, often from an aerial perspective, Poliza wishes more people might be motivated to protect an aspect of the glorious and the fragile places they see.