Susan Middleton is an acclaimed photographer, author, and lecturer specializing in the portraiture of rare and endangered animals, plants, sites, and cultures. For thirteen years she was the chair of the Department of Photography at the California Academy of Sciences, where she now serves as research associate. Her most recent book is Evidence of Evolution (Abrams 2009). Previous books in collaboration with David Liittschwager include Archipelago, Remains of a Rainbow (National Geographic), Witness, and Here Today (Chronicle Books). Her photographs have been exhibited worldwide in fine art and natural history contexts, and are represented in the permanent collections of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Gallery of Art. She was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 2009. She lives in San Francisco.
In Spineless, acclaimed photographer Susan Middleton explores the mysterious and surprising world of marine invertebrates, which represent more than 98 percent of the known animal species in the ocean. They are also astonishingly diverse in their shapes, patterns, textures, and colors—in nature’s fashion show, they are the haute couture of marine life.
This collection of more than 250 remarkable images is the result of seven years of painstaking fieldwork across the Pacific Ocean, using photographic techniques that Middleton developed to capture these extremely fragile creatures on camera. She also provides short essays that examine the place these invertebrates occupy on the tree of life, their vast array of forms, and their lives in the ocean. Scientist Bernadette Holthuis contributes profiles describing each species, many of them for the first time. Middleton’s book is a stunning new view of nature that harmoniously combines art and science.
“Susan Middleton, whose brilliant photography of wildlife is unexcelled, has brought to life and intimacy the small creatures who make up the foundation of animal life in marine waters.”
“This is a wonderful tribute to the astonishingly diverse, beautiful, and urgently important creatures who truly rule the world.”