Vincent Munier grew up surrounded by nature, specifically the Vosges Mountains in north-eastern France. He began photographing wildlife before he was a teenager and has continued to develop his photographic skills and understanding of nature since then. Munier first came to international prominence due to his success in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition several years in a row, and has been widely published since. He loves cold conditions, for it is here that he finds his greatest inspiration.
White Nature is a product of Munier's desire to seek out images in inclement weather and diverse places. Under conditions that many photographers wouldn't even imagine venturing out in Munier has created artful pictures that make the reader stop and wonder. Photographs make up the bulk of this book and are sandwiched between sections of text at either end.
The initial block of text is written by Lysiane Ganousse and comprises of thoughts and abstractions on the theme of white. Actually, I found this hard going. A couple of pages of such text would have been fine, but ten or more pushed the boundary somewhat and I felt relieved when I had read it through. Now I could concentrate on the pictures.
Munier definitely has an artist's eye, drawing out an image where few would see any potential at all. His excellent photographs are mostly displayed on a single page with plenty of white around them. This is a method that is very sympathetic to the subject matter and allows the reader to enjoy their whiteness. Others are across one and a half or two pages, the two-page spreads being in the minority. Most pictures are landscapes or landscape details, with a selection of wildlife photographs taking on a significant but supporting role. I frequently found myself pondering on the simplicity of his image making, wondering how so little can say so much.
This is not simply a set of photographs taken in and around the Vosges Mountains; Munier has travelled widely to compile this collection visiting Japan, Scandinavia, Russia, Canada and the US, although it is fair to say that most of the photographs featured have been taken in France. Captions are minimal, merely identifying the location. This fits in well with the books' theme but did leave me feeling that it would have been nice to know some of the stories behind the images.
The final section comprises of interesting zoological details of each species featured, along with small reference photographs from the previous pages. I found this text to be similar to the type of information one would find in a field guide, and thought it to be a nice way to round off this book.