Steve Bloom

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Bloom at the Spirit of the Wild exhibition opening, Birmingham, England, 22 September 2005

Steve Bloom (born 1953, Johannesburg, South Africa) is a photographer and writer.

Son of South African journalist, novelist, and political activist Harry Bloom, he is best known for his photography books and essays as well as his large scale outdoor exhibitions called Spirit of the Wild.


Bloom's early interest in photography was inspired by the pictures in Life Magazine. In 1972 he trained as a gravure printer, and took portraits of people living under the Apartheid system. In 1977 he travelled to England where some of the pictures were published and exhibited internationally by The International Defence and Aid Fund.

For several years he worked in graphic arts, and in 1999 was jointly responsible for the implementation of the Addison designs for the official posters[1] for the summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, 1992.

Bloom began to photograph wildlife in 1993 while on vacation in South Africa. In 1996 he devoted all his time to wildlife photography and spent the following two years working on his first book, In Praise of Primates, which was published in ten languages.[2] In 2004 Untamed, an oversize book that features animals from all the world's continents, was published in ten language editions for its first printing,[3] and in 2006 he published two monographs: Elephant! and Spirit of the Wild.

In 2006 he returned to photographing people. Living Africa, published in 2008, is a body of photographs covering several African countries, mixing photographs of wildlife, remote tribal groups and people in cities, including gold miners 3 km underground. Bloom's second book on Africa, Trading Places – The Merchants of Nairobi, features subsistence shopkeepers in the suburbs of Nairobi, including Kibera. He has also published several children's books including My Big Cats Journal (Thames & Hudson), My Favourite Animal Families (Thames & Hudson) and Les animaux racontés aux enfants (Editions de la Martinière Jeunesse).

By 2010, Steve Bloom had produced eleven city centre outdoor exhibitions called Spirit of the Wild, each consisting of up to 100 large format weather-sealed prints. Free and usually open to the public 24 hours a day, the theme of the exhibitions was to engender awareness of habitat encroachment and global warming. The inaugural exhibition, in Birmingham, England, ran for eleven months in Centenary Square. Further exhibitions followed in Copenhagen, Leeds, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Moscow, Dublin, Oslo, Stavanger, Barcelona, Edinburgh, Tokyo and Abbeville. The Copenhagen exhibition opened on 16 May 2006 and was visited by 1,019,028 people during the first three months.[4]

In June 2012 the London Festival of Photography[5] featured his exhibition, Beneath the Surface: South Africa in the 1970s at The Guardian Gallery in London. The exhibition showed his early work in apartheid South Africa, portraying a critical time in that country's history when widescale protests against apartheid took hold.


Trading Places – The Merchants of Nairobi (Thames & Hudson) – 2009 ISBN 0-500-54381-X
Living Africa (Thames & Hudson) – 2008 ISBN 0-500-51427-5
Untamed (Abrams) – Paperback Compact edition 2008 ISBN 0-8109-7237-9
Spirit of the Wild (Thames & Hudson) – 2006 ISBN 0-500-51437-2
Elephant! (Thames & Hudson) – 2006 ISBN 0-500-51321-X
Spirit of the Wild (Steve Bloom Editions) – 96 pages (Exhibition edition)
Untamed (Abrams) Hardback – 2004 ISBN 0-8109-5611-X
In Praise of Primates (Könemann Verlag) – 1999 ISBN 3-8290-1556-9
Elephants: A Book for Children (Thames & Hudson)[6] (text by David Henry Wilson) 2007 ISBN 0-500-54344-5
My Favourite Animal Families (Thames & Hudson)[7](text by David Henry Wilson) 2010 ISBN 0-500-54390-9
Portraits d'animaux. Les ours (Editions de la Martinière Jeunesse) 2010[8] ISBN 2-7324-4051-5
Untamed Animals of the World (Children's Edition)[9](Abrams) 2006 ISBN 0-8109-5988-7
A La Découverte des Animaux (Editions de la Martinière Jeunesse) 2011 ISBN 2-7324-4336-0
My Big Cats Journal – Thames & Hudson Ltd (Spring 2012) ISBN 978-0-500-65002-8
My Polar Journal – Thames & Hudson Ltd (Autumn 2012)ISBN 0500650101
Les animaux racontés aux enfants (Editions de la Martinière Jeunesse) ISBN 2-7324-5121-5

Further reading[edit]

Life: Photography Exposed: The Story behind the Image (Time Life 2005 ISBN 1-932994-03-3)
Photo Wisdom – Master Photographers in their Art – Lewis Blackwell (Chronicle Books 2009 ISBN 0-473-15094-8)
The World’s Top Photographers – Terry Hope (RotoVision 2002 ISBN 2-88046-689-X)
Residence (Netherlands)– Lilian Polderman – Steve Bloom interview – September 2008
PDN / Photo District News (USA) – Diane Smyth – cover feature and interview – June 2008
Born to be Wild – Rebecca Ley – Interview – The Times Magazine – 28 October 2006
Photography in 100 Words – David Clark (Argentum ISBN 1-902538-57-9)
Beneath the Surface – The Observer Magazine 27 May 2012
The Big Interview – Professional Photographer Magazine, December 2012

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ Addison Espania 1989 – Creative Director Brent Oppenheimer
  2. ^ Konemann Catalogue 1999 ISBN 3-8290-4622-7
  3. ^ French – Editions De La Martinière ANIMAL ISBN 2-7324-3113-3; German – Knesebeck WILDE TIERE ISBN 3-89660-251-9; Portuguese – Afrontamento INSUBMISSOS ISBN 972-36-0717-4; Hungarian – Alexandra ÁLLATOK ISBN 963-367-787-4; Lithuanian – Alma Litera GYVÛNAI ISBN 9955-08-571-1; English – Harry N. Abrams UNTAMED ISBN 0-8109-5611-X; Spanish – Lunwerg SALVAJES ISBN 84-9785-072-6; Flemish / Dutch – Lannoo DIEREN ISBN 90-209-5787-2; Italian – Mondadori OMAGGIO AGLI ANIMALI ISBN 88-370-3098-3; Russian – Art Rodnik
  4. ^ Innoteck Marketing Analysis – Report August 2006. Project Leader Hans Ole Andersen.
  5. ^ London Festival of Photography
  6. ^ English UK Elephants A book for Children – Thames and Hudson; English USA Elephants A book for Children – Thames and Hudson Inc; German Mein Groβes Buch der Elefanten – Knesebeck; English USA Paperback / Book Fair Safari Scholastic; Spanish El pequeno gran libro de los elefantes Ediciones Oniro (2008); Romanian Cartea cu elefanti Editura Art (2008); Hungary Elefántkönyv – Athenaeum (2008); Dutch Olifanten – een boek voor kindern – Atrium; French Les Éléphants – De la Martinière Jeunesse
  7. ^ English UK My favourite animal families – Thames & Hudson (Autumn 2010); English USA My favorite animal families – Thames & Hudson Inc (2010); German Mein Grosses Buch de Tierfamilien – Knesebeck (2010); Hungarian Legkedvesebb állataim – Athenaeum (2010); French De la Martinière Jeunesse (Spring 2011); Finnish Suloisimmat eläinperheet – Karisto Oy (2011).
  8. ^ French Ours – Éditions De La Martinière; Italian – Hippocampo
  9. ^ English UK Abrams ISBN 0-8109-5988-7; English USA Abrams ISBN 0-8109-5956-9;Dutch Lannoo ISBN 90-209-6333-3; French Editions De La Martinière ISBN 978-2-7324-3309-7; Italian L'ippocampo ISBN 88-88585-72-9; French (Canada) Editions Hurtubise ISBN 2-89428-840-9; German Knesebeck ISBN 3-89660-329-9 / 9783896603296

External links[edit]