“The Earth is at a crossroads never before experienced. My hope is that we begin a new path, one of enlightenment, understanding, appreciation, and tolerance for all living things.” – Tom Mangelsen.
Here in Jackson Hole, wildlife photographer Tom Mangelsen needs no introduction. Our arts, particularly our conservation-based arts, have long looked to his intuitive, prescient practice of seeking out species and their habitats around the globe. Tom Mangelsen is a given, thank goodness. But preservation of wildlife, its assured survival, will never be a “given.” We are responsible, and Mangelsen has taken up the sword. He won’t put it down.
His awards include “Outstanding Nature Photographer of the Year” honors from the North American Nature Photographer Association and “Wildlife Photographer of the Year” from the BBC.
So welcome the chance to take in his work – a significant and renowned oeuvre – and reconnect to the wildlife and landscapes Mangelsen spends eight months a year exploring. The National Museum of Wildlife Art opens “On the Natural World: Photographs by Thomas D. Mangelsen,” on October 1. The exhibition remains up through April 25, 2010.
“These animals, even the most seemingly insignificant ones, are the barometer of the health of this planet,” says Mangelsen. “It doesn’t take long to realize that we are on that same chain, we are all linked in nature.”
I am the proud owner of Mangelsen’s quintessential book, “The Natural World.” It is a prized possession. Through his looking glass I peer. I close my eyes, fan the pages and stop. I do this several times, opening my eyes to see where I’ve landed.
Lord, he’s been written about. But my guess is, Tom (May I call you “Tom?”) is most proud of his connection to Jane Goodall, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and a UN Messenger of Peace. She thanks Tom for his “magnificent enterprise,” and she speaks of his work:
“There I found myself in a magic place, for the breathtaking photographs around the walls transported me to faraway countries, some loved and familiar so that looking at them woke a yearning to be back, others that provided tantalizing images of other worlds I had yet to experience. Here, at last, were photographs that had captured…the very essence of the wilderness scenes depicted.”
I wish I could be there this Thursday, but I’m traveling. You all go, you hear? What better place to take in Mangelsen’s work than within the rustic stone walls of the Museum, crouched on its butte like a watchful cougar?
For information, log on to www.wildlifeart.org or phone 307.733.5771.