In “Seeing Silence”, National Geographic photographer Pete McBride documents the changing auditory landscape of the world’s most remote places

ByDavid M. Conte

Sep 28, 2021


In some of the wildest and most remote places in the world, silence can be absolute silence. It can also be incredibly loud, according to National Geographic filmmaker, author and photographer Pete McBride.

Killer whales in northern Norway. McBride spent time photographing whales alongside a team of researchers during last year’s COVID-19 lockdowns, and his sightings are part of the book.

“I define silence as not without noise, but without mechanical noise,” McBride explained. “If you are immersed in nature, say a colony of crying and singing penguins, it can be incredibly loud in a very beautiful way.”

This is the subject of his latest book, See the silence: the beauty of the quietest places in the world. The book includes a preface by renowned environmentalist Bill McKibben and an essay by adventurer and author Erik Weihenmayer, who was the first blind person to climb Mount Everest. See the silence also tells of how human noise disturbs some of the wild landscapes McBride has visited in his 20-year career.

Arts and culture journalist Kirsten Dobroth spoke to McBride about the book, the sounds of silence and how it evolves in different parts of the world.

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