Art WolfeNationality: United States
Artist's Statement:For forty years I have traveled the globe photographing what is beautiful on the planet. I grew up an avid environmentalist in the Pacific Northwest and this passion continues to this day. So much of my inspiration comes from the world around us. With degrees in art and art education, my approach to photography is based on the arts and conservation. I am deeply influenced by the works of the impressionists and abstract expressionists and apply this to my work, whether I am photographing wildlife, landscapes, or indigenous cultures.
“Art Wolfe is an artist. He works with all of the artistic elements . . . line, form, texture, composition, light and shadow and produces visual masterpieces…”—Robert Bateman
The son of commercial artists, Art Wolfe was born on September 13, 1951 in Seattle, Washington, and still calls the city home. He graduated from the University of Washington with Bachelor's degrees in fine arts and art education in 1975. His photography career has spanned five decades, a remarkable testament to the durability and demand for his images, his expertise, and his passionate advocacy for the environment and indigenous culture. During that time he has worked on every continent, in hundreds of locations, and on a dazzling array of projects.
“Art Wolfe is a virtuoso whose eye brings home, again and again, the absolute need to preserve what we have.”—Morgan Freeman
Wolfe's photographic mission is multi-faceted. By employing artistic and journalistic styles, he documents his subjects and educates the viewer. His unique approach to photography is based on his training in the arts and his love of the environment. His goal has always been to win support for conservation issues by “focusing on what’s beautiful on the Earth.” Hailed by William Conway, former president of the Wildlife Conservation Society, as "the most prolific and sensitive recorder of a rapidly vanishing natural world," Wolfe has taken an estimated two million images in his lifetime and travels nearly nine months out of the year photographing for new projects, leading photographic tours and seminars, and giving inspirational presentations to corporate, educational, conservation and spiritual groups.
Long before the genre of ‘conservation photography’ was conceived, Wolfe was practicing it. In 1997 he created a conservation-themed photography contest as “an event for the advancement of photography as a unique medium capable of bringing awareness and preservation to our environment through art.” After a very successful run in 2012 in which the International Conservation Photography Awards drew entries from around the world and was exhibited and traveled by The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle, the contest is now in hiatus. Wolfe continues to judge various contests including the prestigious USA Landscape Photographer of the Year and BigPicture Natural World Photography Contest.
“Art Wolfe’s work tells a story that is overwhelming, breathtaking, and vast.”—Robert Redford
In 1978 he published his first book Indian Baskets of the Northwest Coast with the late Dr. Allan Lobb, a close friend and mentor, who also gave Wolfe a start by putting the young photographer’s work into patients’ rooms at Swedish Medical Center. Wolfe was soon photographing for the world’s top magazines such as National Geographic, Smithsonian, Audubon, GEO, and Terre Sauvage. Magazines all over the world publish his photographs and stories, and his work is licensed for retail products and advertising, as well as products such as USPS stamps, of which he has three.
Numerous US and international venues have featured monographs of his work as well his traveling exhibitions, Earth Is My Witness, Travels to the Edge, and Beyond the Lens. He has had four major exhibitions at Seattle’s Frye Art Museum, including One World, One Vision. Today his work is available online at www.artwolfe.com and at the Rotella Gallery™, with locations in Bellevue, Washington, and New York City.
“Art Wolfe’s photographs are a superb evocation of some of the most breathtaking spectacles in the world.”—Sir David Attenborough
Since 1988 he has published at least one book a year—1997 alone saw seven titles in the United States and abroad. He has released over ninety books, including award-winning The High Himalaya, Water: Worlds between Heaven & Earth, Tribes, Rainforests of the World, Pacific Northwest, Land of Light and Water, as well as numerous children’s titles, including O is for Orca and Animal Action Alphabet. Graphis included his books Light on the Land and the controversial Migrations on its list of the 100 best books published in the 1990s. His books have sold hundreds of thousands of copies and have been translated into eight languages.
In 2000 he formed Wildlands Press and subsequently published much of his signature work: The Living Wild, which has more than 70,000 copies in print worldwide and garnered awards from the National Outdoor Book Awards, Independent Publisher, Applied Arts and Graphis; Africa (2001) and Edge of the EarthCorner of the Sky (2003), both of which captured significant publishing awards, including IPPY (Independent Publishers), Benjamin Franklin (Publishers Marketing Association), and National Outdoor Book Award. Wolfe’s latest books are Human Canvas, Graphis Photography Annual 2014 gold medal win-ner; and two instructional texts published by Amphoto Books: an updated edition of the bestselling Art of Photographing Nature and The Art of the Photograph with author Rob Sheppard. In 2014 Insight Editions published the encyclopedic Earth Is My Witness, which is now in its second printing. Published in 2015 is the eagerly anticipated revised edition of Vanishing Act in English, German and French (Cameron + Company, Knesebeck Verlag, Hugo Image), as well as Eden and Hymne a la Terre, the German and French language editions of Earth Is My Witness by National Geographic. 2016 releases include an all-new edition of Migrations and Photographs from the Edge, among others.
“The intensity, texture, and strange density of Art Wolfe’s photographs are truly astonishing.”—Peter Matthiessen
Wolfe has ventured into the world of television production with “On Location with Art Wolfe,” “Techniques of the Masters” and as host of “American Photo's Safari”, which aired on ESPN 1993-1995. In May 2007 Art made his public television debut with the high definition series “Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge,” an intimate and upbeat series that offers unique insights on nature, culture, and the realm of digital photography. The thirteen-episode first season garnered American Public Television’s 2007 Programming Excellence Award—unprecedented for a first season show. The thirteen-episode second season garnered five Silver Telly Awards, their highest honor, for outstanding achievement. It has been broadcast hundreds of thousands times in the United States and is in syndication throughout the world.
Wolfe is the on-screen talent for two of the six episodes of "Tales By Light" airing in 2015 in Australia and New Zealand. The show was produced by Canon Australia and National Geographic Channel in conjunction with Untitled Film Works.
Education is a major component of Wolfe’s work, whether it is about the environment or about photog-raphy. He leads photographic tours worldwide as well as regularly giving his Art of Composition seminar. He has been a Phase One Digital Artists Series instructor, and is currently collaborating with two of the most renowned nature photographers in the world, Frans Lanting and Thomas Mangelsen, on the Masters of Nature Photography workshops (www.mastersofnaturephotography.com).
“Art has the broadest range of excellence of any nature photographer I know.”—Galen Rowell
Along with his numerous book and television awards, Wolfe is the proud recipient of the Nature's Best Photographer of the Year Award, the North American Nature Photography Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Photographic Society of America’s Progress Medal for his contribution to the advancement of the art and science of photography; he has been awarded with a coveted Alfred Eisen-staedt Magazine Photography Award. The National Audubon Society recognized Wolfe’s work in support of the national wildlife refuge system with its first-ever Rachel Carson Award. In 1999 he was named to the UW Alumni Association’s magazine list of 100 “most famous, fascinating and influential” alumni of the 20th century. He is the Honorary Chair of Washington Wild, a member of the American Society of Media Photographers; he is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers, a Member National of The Explorers Club, and has served on the advisory boards for the Wildlife Conservation Society. Wolfe has been a member of Canon’s elite list of renowned photographers Explorers of Light, Microsoft’s Icons of Imaging, Fujifilm’s Talent Team, and Nikon’s NPS Pros.
Wolfe maintains his office, stock agency, and production company in Seattle.
“It is in the wild places, where the edge of the earth meets the corners of the sky, the human spirit is fed.”—Art Wolfe
»Art Wolfe’s work tells a story that is overwhelming, breathtaking, and vast.« — Robert Redford
Veröffentlichungen:In 1978 he published his first book Indian Baskets of the Northwest Coast with the late Dr. Allan Lobb, a close friend and mentor, who also gave Wolfe a start by putting the young photographer’s work into patients’ rooms at Swedish Medical Center. Wolfe was soon photographing for the world’s top magazines such as National Geographic, Smithsonian, Audubon, GEO, and Terre Sauvage. Magazines all over the world publish his photographs and stories, and his work is licensed for retail products and advertising.
Numerous US and international venues have featured monographs of his work as well his traveling exhibitions, Earth Is My Witness, Travels to the Edge, and Beyond the Lens. He has had four major shows at Seattle’s Frye Art Museum, including One World, One Vision.
- 2016 | Opening of retrospective Earth Is My Witness exhibition in Iserlohn and Schleswig, Germany
Migrations: Wildlife in Motion published by Earth Aware Editions
Debut of new seminar Photography as Art Iconic Northwest children's books O is for Orca and 1, 2, 3 Moose published as baby panel books by Sasquatch Books USPS forever stamp celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the National Park system
- 2015 | Monograph "Earth Is My Witness" exhibition at the Konica Minolta Gallery, Tokyo Vanishing Act, Revised Edition published by Cameron + Company
Meisterhaft getarnt: Von der Kunst gesehen zu werden published by Knesebeck Verlag
Tales By Light television airs in Australia and New Zealand; produced by Canon Australia & National Geographic TV Eden, German language edition of Earth Is My Witness, is published by National Geographic Hymn à la Terre, French language edition of Earth Is My Witness, is published by National Geographic Earth Is My Witness wins awards from the Independent Book Publishers Association, Independent Publishers, Applied Arts, and PubWest Named Honorary Chair of Washington Wild washingtonwild.org
- 2014 | Monograph "Diverse Planet" exhibit at the Konica Minolta Gallery, Tokyo "Power of the Image" group exhibit, Beijing
Earth Is My Witness published by Insight Editions
Human Canvas selected for Graphis Photography Annual 2014
"Pristine Russia" group exhibit, Russia
Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice Awards Exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Earth Is My Witness named a "Best Photo Book of the Year" by American Photo magazine
- 2013 | Receives the Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Award in recognition of Outstanding Achievement in Nature Photography
Receives the Lifetime Achievement Award by the North American Nature Photography Association
The New Art of Photography Nature with Martha Hill and Tim Grey published by Amphoto Books
The Art of the Photograph with Rob Sheppard published by Amphoto Books.
The Rotella Gallery opens in Soho, New York City
- 2012 | The Natural Wonders Gallery featuring Art’s images opens in Las Vegas. It has since been rebranded as the Rotella Gallery.
Human Canvas, Wereldnatuur, and Landschaften Zwischen Himmel und Erde Landschaften zwischen Himmel und Erde (Frederking & Thaler 2012) is name Most Beautiful Science Book 2012 by Bild der Wissenschaft
Masters of Nature Photography workshops commence with Frans Lanting and Thomas Mangelsen.
Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge is now syndicated worldwide.
Received a Timeless Award from the University of Washington, based on outstanding service and achievement since graduation.
The Art Wolfe Gallery moves to Pioneer Square in Seattle, Washington.
- 2011 | Dogs Make Us Human, Uomini e Cani: Una Storia d’Amore, Regard Sauvage, and Animal Art
Travels to the Edge exhibit benefit for the Macular Vision Research Foundation, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Presentation at Photo Expo in New York with Frans Lanting, Thomas Mangelsen, and Patrick Donehue.
- 2010 | Receives the Photographic Society of America’s Progress Medal for his contribution to the advancement of the art and science of photography.
Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge wins five Silver Telly Awards, their highest honor, for outstanding achievement.
Travels to the Edge exhibit at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art and Sculpture Park.
Gallery openings at the G2 in California and the Saxton Gallery in Ohio.
Photographs the Day of the Dead festival for the Harbers Family Foundation.
Alaska, 10th Anniversary Edition, published.
Named to Top 40 list of nature photographers by Outdoor Photography (UK).
- 2009 | Travels to the Edge: A Photo Odyssey, Caribou Crossing, and Animals on the Edge
Travels to the Edge exhibit at The Benham Gallery, Seattle.
- 2008 | Season two of Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge airs on public television and continues to be rebroadcast to the present.
Begins the popular seminar series, Composing Effective Images and The Art of Composition
The Inside Passage to Alaska
- 2007 | Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge debuts on public television
Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge wins American Public Television’s programming excellence award.
Travels to the Edge presentations in Puerto Rico for IBM Americas Hundred Percent Club.
Between Heaven and Earth presentation debut.
On Puget Sound and Wolves
- 2006 | Vanishing Act (UK), Mimetismo, and On Thin Ice
- 2005 | Honorary Fellowship awarded by the Royal Photographic Society of England.
Vanishing Act, Kunst der Tarnung, Cache-cache, and Seven Summits
- 2004 | Wildlands Press is presented with a Benjamin Franklin Award and Independent Book Publishers Award for Edge of the Earth, Corner of the Sky.
Elements, Alaska Wild, Northwest Wild, Cats, and Landschaften Zwischen Himmel und Erde
Gallery opening at the Pentax Gallery, Tokyo
- 2003 | Wildlands Press publishes Edge of the Earth, Corner of the Sky
"One World|One Vision: The Photography of Art Wolfe" is exhibited at The Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA
Named Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers.
- 2002 | Images from The Living Wild were selected for the Graphis Photo Annual 2002 representing the most exciting work created and presented in the previous year.
The Independent Book Publishers Association recognizes The High Himalaya, as an award finalist for photography.
Wildlands Press is presented with an Applied Arts Magazine Award for The Living Wild.
The Living Wild Exhibit: selections from The Living Wild presented at the Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
C is for Coyote
- 2001 | Africa, Afrique: Les Sources de la Vie, Lions, Der Atem Der Wildnis, Libres Y Salvajes, California, The Nature of Lions, and The High Himalaya
Presentations at the Natur Foto Festival in Luenen, Germany and the Vargarda Foto Festial in Vargarda, Sweden.
The Living Wild presentations in Düsseldorf and Munich, Germany; Vienna, Austria.
The Living Wild exhibits in the Museum of Mensch und Natur, Munich, Germany and the Natural History Museum, Vienna, Austria.
Spearheaded Art Wolfe Photography Workshops in South Africa and Alaska.
The Independent Book Publishers Association recognizes The Living Wild, the first self-published Art Wolfe book, as One of The Top Ten Books for 2000.
The Living Wild is named winner of the Design and Artistic Category by the National Outdoor Book Award.
The Living Wild is presented with the Western US Book Design & Production Award for the winner of the Photography Book Category from Publishers Association of the West.
Applied Arts (Canada) names The Living Wild as The Best Photography Book for 2000.
Alaska, The Living Wild, Libres et Sauvages and Colorado
Receives Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Magazine Photography. Winner in the Nature and Environment – Photo Essay category.
Conducts presentation at the Royal Photographic Society, Bath, England.
Art Wolfe Gallery opens in REI flagship store in Denver, Colorado.
Water: Worlds Between Heaven and Earth and Tribes: Völker, Farben, Rituale (German edition) published. Journey Through Northern Rainforests for children published.
Named to the University of Washington Alumni Association’s list of 100 “most famous, fascinating, and influential” alumni of the 20th
The Living Wild receives Fuji Photo Film USA, Getty Images and Canon USA sponsorship.
Receives First Place and Honorable Mention. Mexico Nature Photography Contest, United for Conservation, Mexico City, Mexico.
Photo Expo West Show, Los Angeles. Wolfe presents Africa seminar sponsored by Canon USA and has major exhibit, Natural Landscapes, sponsored by Mamiya America Corporation and Fuji Photo Film USA.
Beyond the Lens: Compositions by Art Wolfe exhibit travels to Belray, Florida and Monterrey, Mexico.
Rainforests of the World: Water, Fire, Earth and Air, Pacific Northwest: Land of Light and Water, and Tribes (UK edition) published. Northwest Animal Babies for children published.
Photo Expo East Show, New York City. Wolfe presents Africa seminar sponsored by Canon USA and has major exhibit, Natural Landscapes, sponsored by Mamiya America Corporation and Fuji Photo Film USA.
Conducts fund-raiser and book launch for Rainforests of the World with the Rainforest Alliance in New York City.
The Living Wild receives Blue Earth Alliance sponsorship.
Rachel Carson Award. The National Audubon Society presents its first-ever award for outstanding contributions supporting the national wildlife refuge system.
Awarded ‘Outstanding Nature Photographer of the Year by the North American Nature Photography Association.
North American Nature Photography Association, Orlando, Florida. Wolfe serves as master of ceremonies and banquet speaker for annual national conference.
Miami Photo Fusion, Palm Beach, Florida. Serves as presenter and panelist.
- 1997 | Tribes, Rhythms from the Wild, Bald Eagles: Their Life and Behavior in North America, Primates: The Amazing World of Lemurs, Monkeys and Apes, and Wasser: Welten zwischen Himmel und Erde (Germany) published. Frogs, Art Wolfe’s Animal Babies: Kittens and Cubs, and Art Wolfe’s Animal Babies: Pups and Cubs for children published.
Creates International Conservation Photography Awards, a conservation-themed photography contest to promote the advancement of photography as a unique medium capable of bringing awareness and preservation to our environment through art.
Delivers presentations at Smithsonian and Harvard, at the international photo festivals in Germany and Sweden, and at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England.
Beyond the Lens: Compositions by Art Wolfe exhibit travels to Finland, Germany, Sweden and the Eastern United States.
Gives Wildlands, Endangered Peoples multi-media presentations to benefit the Rivers Council, Endangered Species Act Coalition of Washington, Wildlife Conservation Society and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Disney Institute, Orlando, Florida. Wolfe presents multi-media slide show and conducts workshop sponsored by Nikon.
North American Nature Photography Association, Corpus Christi, Texas. Wolfe serves as master of ceremonies and closing presenter for annual national conference.
- 1996 | Animal Action Alphabet and 1, 2, 3 Moose published for children.
PhotoMedia Photographer of the Year. The Pacific Northwest photography magazine presents its first ever-annual creative and humanitarian achievement award for exceptional contributions to the industry and community.
Beyond the Lens: Compositions by Art Wolfe exhibit travels to Nevada and Wyoming.
- 1995 | Wild Cats of the World, In the Presence of Wolves, and Photography Outdoors: A Field Guide for Travel and Adventure Photographers O is for Orca published for children. Naturfotografie and Landschaften im Licht published in Germany.
Landschaften im Licht wins the 1995 Kodak Prize for the most beautiful photography book published in Germany.
Graphis Magazine (Switzerland) recognizes Light on the Land and Migrations as two of the top 100 books published internationally in the decade.
An Evening with Art Wolfe: From the Amazon to Antarctica multi-media presentation benefits the Seattle Woodland Park Zoo.
Beyond the Lens: Compostions by Art Wolfe exhibit opens at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, Wisconsin.
Art Wolfe Gallery opens in REI’s flagship store in Seattle.
- 1994 | Migrations
The Tongass: Alaska’s Magnificent Rainforest mounted at the Smithsonian Institute’s Natural History Museum. The group exhibit toured the United States through 1997.
Wolfe appointed to the Advisory Board of the Wildlife Conservation Society, NYC.
- 1993 | The Art of Photographing Nature, Bears: Their Lives and Behavior, and Penguins, Puffins and Auks Hiding Out: Camouflage in Nature for children published. La Grand Livre des Ours published in France.
Light on the Land selected by the Clinton Administration as a gift of state.
American Photo’s Safari aired on ESPN. The instructional program features Wolfe offering technical and artistic advice to celebrities. It was filmed in the Western United States, Canada and Africa and continues to air on the Discovery Channel.
Named Member National of The Explorers Club
- 1992 | Masters of Disguise: A Natural History of Chameleons
- 1991 | Light on the Land and The Souls of Animals Chameleons: Dragons in the Trees for children published.
Techniques of the Masters produced by Kodak and televised nationally. This instructional series features Wolfe in the field and continues to be aired.
Appearance on the Ron Reagan Show on Fox as part of panel discussion on oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge of Alaska
Art Wolfe exhibit at the Silver Image Gallery, Seattle, Washington1
- 1990 | The Kingdom and Owls: Their Lives and Behavior
Alaska, an Emmy-winning one-hour documentary on photographing Alaska with Art Wolfe, is produced by KIRO Television.
“On Location with Art Wolfe” filmed in Alaska’s Denali National Park, an instructional and adventure video for outdoor photographers and enthusiasts.
Extremities multi-media presentation benefits the Northwest AIDS Foundation and the Seattle Children’s Home.
The Imagery of Art Wolfe
The Triumphant Trumpeter Swan published in National Geographic (October 1985)
Ultima Thule presentation benefits the Northwest’s largest expedition to Mt. Everest. Wolfe documents the expedition.
Art Wolfe exhibit hosted by the Frye Art Museum in Seattle. It includes Wolfe’s watercolor paintings and photographs and subsequently appeared in 1983 and 1988.
- 1980 | Long-eared Owls—Masters of the Night published in National Geographic (January 1980)
Indian Baskets of the Northwest Coast, Wolfe’s first book, published. Expanded and republished in 1990.
Project: Human Canvas - Sun Moon Stars and…
Human Canvas is a natural evolution of my work and interests in art, nature, and traditional cultures. If you look closely, you will see a direct progression from the work I have done earlier in tribal communities, featured in my book Tribes (1997) where spots, lines, and textures play heavily into the ornamental decoration that remote peoples use during celebrations. Additionally, I have drawn heavily from the natural world, in particular my book Vanishing Act (2015), a collection showing how evolutionary traits benefit animals in disguising themselves from predators. This work has percolated in the back of my mind before I ever acted on it.
Human Canvas is a unique subset of my work as a whole. While I usually photograph en plein air, the majority of these works are created in studio; I paint the backdrops, paint the models, pose them and then photograph them. It is a collaborative effort as I get ideas as the photo shoot progresses. It requires patience for both me and the models, as well as flexibility. There have been times when I have had to change course mid-shoot, when I realized a theme was not working. A creative process as a mix of planning and spontaneous decisions.
Not all of Human Canvas was photographed in studio; several times I have returned to the Omo River region of Ethiopia to work on seminal pieces with tribes who were an inspiration for this oeuvre.
Through the use of line, patterns, texture as well as unusual angles of view I have tried to abstract the human form. The objective is theatrical as opposed to erotic, though many of the human landscapes are inescapably sensual in nature. There are various ‘lineages’ in this project: cracked clay, pigment, abstraction, and now shaman. To me this beyond photography, becoming pure art, and it has energized me as an artist.