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'On Fire': The Landscape of Burning Prairies

<i>On Fire</i> by Larry Schwarm (Duke University Press, 2003)
On Fire by Larry Schwarm (Duke University Press, 2003)

As wildfires consumed large swaths of California, newspapers showcased front-page photos of the destruction. Such drama may seem a snap to capture on film. But balancing light against landscape with human forms and manmade structures taxes the finest photographers -- especially when flames are literally swirling nearby.

Landscape photographer Larry Schwarm focused his lens on prairie fires -- the kind that regularly sweep through his home state of Kansas. His new book of photos is called On Fire. Schwarm talks to NPR's Liane Hansen about what inspired him to stare into the flames.

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Liane Hansen
Liane Hansen has been the host of NPR's award-winning Weekend Edition Sunday for 20 years. She brings to her position an extensive background in broadcast journalism, including work as a radio producer, reporter, and on-air host at both the local and national level. The program has covered such breaking news stories as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the capture of Saddam Hussein, the deaths of Princess Diana and John F. Kennedy, Jr., and the Columbia shuttle tragedy. In 2004, Liane was granted an exclusive interview with former weapons inspector David Kay prior to his report on the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The show also won the James Beard award for best radio program on food for a report on SPAM.