Science Book a Day Interviews Dwight Kuhn

dwight-kuhnSpecial thanks to Dwight Kuhn for answering 5 questions about his recently featured book (with author David Schwartz) – Rotten Pumpkin: A Rotten Tale in 15 Voices

Dwight Kuhn is a published author, illustrator, and a photographer of children’s books. His work has appeared in more than sixty photo essays featured in major magazines such as: Audubon, Natural History, GEO, Smithsonian, National Geographic, National Wildlife, Airone, and Ranger Rick.- From Jacketflap and Dwight’s Homepage.

Dwight’s Homepage: http://www.kuhnphoto.net

#1 – What was the impetus for this book?

My three year granddaughter was on her porch with her dad several weeks after Halloween. Her jack-o-lantern was already starting to decompose and molds were growing around the mouth and eyes.  She said: “Where did my pumpkin go? Why is it doing that?  I want my pumpkin back!”  Her dad tried to explain what was happening.

#2 – What was your aim as a photographer with this book?

When I heard this story about my granddaughter, I decided this could be a good Halloween book for November instead of October. It could be a book centered around the Halloween season and also provide a strong ecological message about how death provides food for other creatures. The main idea was the pumpkin is dead, but other life benefits and life continues on.

#3 – When photographing decay, what were you trying to emphasize in your photos?

I was trying to emphasize the animals and fungi that benefited from the discarded jack-o-lantern and their effects on the demise of the pumpkin.

#4 – What techniques did you have to enlist in this book?

After Halloween, my pumpkins were put into the garden to decompose. I photographed the birds, mice and squirrels as they came to feed on the seeds and the flesh. Soon after that, small critters took part in the feeding frenzy.  Before long the pumpkin is a mass of colorful molds and the shell begins to collapse. By winter, the pumpkin is just a hump of seeds and goo.  The following spring, I continued photographing the pumpkin’s demise with the sprouting of new plants from the seeds that survived. I then followed the growth of those pumpkins through the summer until the end of October.  I now completed the photography cycle and had some new jack-o-lanterns for the Halloween season.

#5 – Are you working on any new projects/books you can tell us about?

My sons [David and Brian] and I have been working on interactive eBooks for the iPad. These are books that are educational and fun at the same time!  This past year, we published 24 eBooks under the publishing name of Galloping Turtle Books. We also published 3 interactive habitat eBooks with author, David M. Schwartz on the iTunes Store a few months ago. We just started to reformat some of our iPad books for Amazon’s Kindle devices. Some of the books are already on Amazon and the rest will be published in the next two months. Some of our books will be offered as free over the next few months. Feel free to download the books and give them a rating.

[Image Credit: http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1362698688p5/562198.jpg ]

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