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Photograph by Alex Harris

Photograph by Eliza Harris


Edward O. Wilson was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1929 and was drawn to the natural environment from a young age. After studying evolutionary biology at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, he has spent his career focused on scientific research and teaching, including forty-one years on the faculty of Harvard University. His twenty-five books and more than four hundred mostly technical articles have won him more than a hundred awards in science and letters, including two Pulitzer Prizes, for On Human Nature (1979) and, with Bert Hölldobler, The Ants (1991); the United States National Medal of Science; the Crafoord Prize, given by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for fields not covered by the Nobel Prize; Japan's International Prize for Biology; the Presidential Medal and Nonino Prize of Italy; and the Franklin Medal of the American Philosophical Society. For his contributions to conservation biology, he has received the Audubon Medal of the National Audubon Society and the Gold Medal of the Worldwide Fund for Nature. Much of his personal and professional life is chronicled in the memoir Naturalist, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Award in Science in 1995. More recently, Wilson has ventured into fiction, the result being Anthill, published in 2010 by W. W. Norton & Company. Still active in field research, writing, and conservation work, Wilson lives with his wife, Irene, in Lexington, Massachusetts.


Alex Harris was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1949. He graduated in 1971 from Yale University where he also studied photography with Walker Evans. Harris has photographed for extended periods in Cuba, the Inuit villages of Alaska, the Hispanic villages of northern New Mexico, and across the American South. He has taught at Duke University for more than three decades and is a founder there of the Center for Documentary Photography (1979) and the Center for Documentary Studies (1989). Harris launched DoubleTake magazine in 1995 and edited the publication through its first twelve issues. He is currently Professor of the Practice of Public Policy and Documentary Studies at Duke. Harris's awards include a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in Photography, a Rockefeller Foundation Humanities Fellowship, and a Lyndhurst Prize. His book River of Traps, with William deBuys (1990), was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction. Harris's work is represented in major photographic collections, including the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His photographs have been exhibited in numerous museums, including two solo exhibitions at the International Center of Photography in New York City. As a photographer and editor, Harris has published fourteen books, including The Idea of Cuba (2007), Red White Blue and God Bless You (1992), and A World Unsuspected: Portraits of Southern Childhood (1987).

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