A Wild Life

A Visual Biography of Photographer Michael Nichols

By Melissa Harris
Photographs by Michael Nichols

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7 1/2 x 10 inches 350 pages, 150 four-color and black-and-white images Hardcover 978-1-59711-251-2 June 2017

PRE-SALE! Orders will ship 05/20/2017.


“Menaced by lizards in Indonesia, cuffed by a gorilla in Africa, stung by poisonous caterpillars in the world’s deepest cave”—so ran the lead to a 1985 article describing Michael “Nick” Nichols.


A Wild Life is Michael “Nick” Nichols’s story, told with passion and insight by author and photo-editor Melissa Harris. Nichols’ story combines a life of adventure, with a conviction about how we can redeem the human race by protecting our wildlife. The book’s two central characters are the photographer—who journeys from the American South, via the photographers’ co-operative Magnum, to becoming lead wildlife photographer of National Geographic magazine—and the author, who travels with the photographer on assignment in Africa, to gain intimate and deep insight into her subject. Harris’s story also draws on meetings with some of the world’s leading eco-scientists—including legendary primatologist, Jane Goodall.


Melissa Harris Melissa Harris is editor-at-large of Aperture Foundation, where she has worked for more than twenty-five years, including as editor-in-chief of award-winning Aperture magazine from 2002 to 2012. Harris has also edited more than forty books for Aperture. As a curator, Harris has organized photography exhibitions for venues worldwide, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, Moscow; the Triennale di Milano; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; and Visa pour l’Image, Perpignan. Harris teaches at New York University in the Tisch Photography and Imaging department, and occasionally at Yale. University. She served on New York City’s Community Board 5 for several years, and is a trustee of the John Cage Trust.


Michael “Nick” Nichols is an award-winning photographer whose work has taken him to the most remote corners of the world. He became a staff photographer for National Geographic magazine in 1996 and was named editor-at-large for photography in January 2008. From 1982 to 1995 he was a member of Magnum Photos. His previous books with Aperture are Gorilla (1989), with an essay by George Schaller; Brutal Kinship (2005), with an essay by Jane Goodall; and Earth to Sky: Among Africa’s Elephants, A Species in Crisis (2013). He is represtented by Steven Kasher Gallery. 

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