Mangelsen to introduce new book to Steamboat at gallery reception
Steamboat Springs — From the Arctic to Antarctica, Tom Mangelsen takes viewers on a journey of his life in pictures taken over the course of 40 years.
The prolific wildlife photographer has created a new large format book, “The Last Great Wild Places,” featuring about 140 pictures of fleeting moments from Botswana to the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. The retrospective book also features new work including the cover photo of a grizzly bear crossing a river in the Grand Teton National Park No. 399 as well as images Mangelsen captured over the years but never printed.
On Saturday, the photographer, who was named to American Photographer magazine’s list of the top 100 most important people and whose work has been showcased in a collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and has appeared in National Geographic, Time and Life, will be in town for a book signing and reception to celebrate his new book. The event will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Images of Nature gallery, 730 Lincoln Ave.
In his new book, Mangelsen explained that as a teenager, extinction is a hard concept to understand.
“It defies logic,” Magelsen wrote. “My dad said that if people know something so wonderful is going to vanish, and they know that they’re in a position to do something about it, then there is no choice. You must take action. That’s part of my impetus for being a photographer.”
Over the years, Mangelsen has become a conservation voice for grizzly bears, cranes, cougars and other species. He’s also become close with Jane Goodall, who wrote the foreword in his book.
“I want to try and do something to prevent these animals from disappearing, and photography is a small voice, but I want to do as much as I can,” Mangelsen said in a phone interview Tuesday after returning home from a trip to Africa, a place he has visited about 16 different times.
He hopes to eventually publish a book featuring the wildlife there to help share the character of the animals and remote areas he’s been to.
“He is able to share these areas people can’t see within their lifetime,” said Todd Savalox, owner of Images of Nature gallery. “The conservation message is there as soon as you arrive in the gallery and start walking around. I appreciate nature preservation because we want to have beautiful places like those in his photos for future generations.”
Growing up near the Platte River in Nebraska observing flocks of ducks, geese and cranes, Mangelsen learned about animal behaviors and gained patience and a passion for wildlife.
But the most important lesson he learned over the course of his career and what separates him from other wildlife landscape photographers is experience.
“There is something to be said for having a natural eye or the way in which one sees the world,” Mangelsen said. “I think you can learn a lot but part of being a photographer is having that innate ability to carefully see backgrounds or foregrounds to know what works.”
In his work, he uses his wildlife biology and videographer background. It’s how he is able to envision what behavior a certain animal will engage in.
It takes awhile to have the technical skills to capture those fleeting moments and know what lens to use, it become natural instinct after awhile. Not only has he fostered a natural instinct for photography, but he’s seen changes in technology and landscapes. Through this book he hopes to provide images that will stand the test of time.
“It’s my gift to future generation, and I hope people leave inspired after seeing the book,” Mangelsen said.
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