Joe Riis is a wildlife photojournalist, a National Geographic Young Explorer and an iLCP photographer and biologist. And he will share his experiences when he appears at the Jackson Hole Community School on Tuesday, March 22, 2011. The talk begins at 6:00 pm.
Just a few weeks ago the Smithsonian’s new collection of wildlife photographs made the news. Their cameras were hidden, and referred to as “camera traps.” Here in Jackson Hole, and throughout the Yellowstone region, we’re awash in great photography; this place is a shutterbug’s dream. So it takes a special eye, a way with a lens, to catch our attention when it comes to wildlife photography. The Smithsonian’s shots were notable for their fish eye view of animals snared by camera traps–and Riis’ wildlife images remind me of those Smithsonian shots. And another photographer’s work fits into this style envelope: Michael Forsberg.
Like Forsberg, Riis is a midwesterner; hence, I checked out his Missouri shots. My short time living in the midwest—back in the late 60’s and early 70’s—included a few trips to the Ozarks. There’s a rustling hush to that landscape. Sit quietly on a bed of dropped leaves, dangle your toes in the river, and through the silence you begin to suspect some kind of miracle to happen. Emerald blades peep through those mudflats; a giant polliwog slips away from the underside of your boat.
Riis’ Pronghorn Migragtion portfolio is stunning. It is not an easy task to track pronghorn–my one foray into the Gros Ventres with a tracking group taught me that (I hope to do it again). We were literally washed out of the Upper Slide Lake area by a series of thunderstorms—clay roads turned to slip and our four-wheel-drive vehicle did not hold much sway. We spotted only one family of pronghorn that day, and it took six people with high powered binoculars, spotting scopes and lots of patience to find them. Riis’ series of migrating pronghorn captures pronghorn on red mountained hillsides, negotiating barbed wire fences, fording rivers—-leading one another through the valleys and harsh conditions that make up their lives. It’s an incredible photographic journal.
Joe Riis’ presentation is free and open to the public. Contact Sarah at 307-733-5427 or email [email protected] for more info.