Brian Hampton's coffee table books are much more than just coffee table books; they're works of art that benefit four worthy charities: the Rochester, MN chapter of the Ronald McDonald House; Carpenter's Place in Rockford, IL; the Salvation Army; and Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in the Everglades.
The books - Captured I: Africa and Captured II: Everglades - are the culmination of Hampton's global wildlife photography, meticulously captured, printed on LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper, bound and packaged.
Both are available in 12" x 12" and 18" x 18" sizes, which retail for $1,895 and $2,500 respectively. There are only 15 copies of the 18" x 18" version available.
"I don't make a profit on the books, nor do I want to: 40 percent goes to the causes and the rest goes toward helping me recover my costs on the project. I want to raise as much money as I can for those organizations," explains Hampton. "The books are printed using the highest quality printers, either a Canon iPF8300 or an Epson 9900 through ImagePrint RIP software, on Sunset Photo eSatin Paper. I like detail. For that reason a glossy paper would be my favorite for detail, but it falls short because it's generally too touchy; it can show a dimple or wrinkle so you have to be very careful handling it. Sunset Photo eSatin shows very good detail, and it's a friendlier to handle."
Hampton prints the pages and sends them to Mel Englander, Englander Studios in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to be bound and packaged. The books come in a velvet case inside a black box, to which Hampton applies the book cover image, printed on Photo Tex from LexJet.
A successful entrepreneur and corporate turn-around artist who has been CEO of five companies over the past 40 years, his success in business allowed him to pursue two of his favorite pastimes - photography and philanthropy - and then blend both with the creation of his wildlife photography books.
"When I first started shooting I began with an area in the Everglades where we have a home. I bought a digital camera and started taking pictures of wildlife, mostly birds at first. Six years later I had a little over 20,000 images, and in between that time my wife and I took several trips to Africa. I got more involved in wildlife photography and my wife got into HD video production," explains Hampton. "I produced the Africa book first and then began working on the Everglades book. At the same time I began thinking about ways to raise money for non-profit organizations."
One of Hampton's shots from Africa, which captures a lioness charging through the water on its way to a kill, was the 2008 Grand Prize winner of the annual Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards, for which it was featured in a special exhibition at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. that same year.
Hampton is working on a third book based on his travels to Alaska. Hampton says he has 50-60 images that are "book-worthy," and he would like to take a photography trip in the winter to capture the unique snow-covered beauty of Alaska and its wildlife that time of year.
Hampton adds that perhaps the most difficult aspect of producing the books was choosing from the literally tens of thousands of images he's captured over the years. When Hampton is out in the field, he shoots with a Canon 1-series professional camera with "L" glass. As he puts it: "I only shoot with the best possible equipment from the best possible locations. The nature of photography, especially wildlife photography, is that you have very little time to capture the perfect moment so you had better be prepared."