Wyoming Grasslands: Photographs by Michael P. Berman and William S. Sutton (The Charles M. Russell Center Series on Art and Photography of the American West)

Wyoming Grasslands: Photographs by Michael P. Berman and William S. Sutton (The Charles M. Russell Center Series on Art and Photography of the American West)

Language: English

Pages: 232

ISBN: 0806148535

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Naturalist John James Audubon found the Great Plains and their wildlife so riveting when he visited the region in 1834 that he broke off a letter to his wife because he was too excited to write. In the almost two hundred years since then, the Wyoming landscape, deemed the “Italy of America” by landscape painter Albert Bierstadt, has retained its glory if not its place in the imagination of the American public. This book reminds us of the remarkable bounty contained in the wild beauty and rich history of the Wyoming grasslands—even as these riches are under threat from both human and natural forces.

This landscape is now captured in all its spectacular diversity in the photography of Michael P. Berman and William S. Sutton, two of the modern American West’s most accomplished and well-known landscape photographers. Essays by Frank H. Goodyear, Jr., and Charles R. Preston provide a contextual framework for the images. Goodyear introduces us to the imagery of the American West and explains the place of Berman’s and Sutton’s work within that tradition, and Preston focuses on the natural history of the grasslands, illuminating the area’s ecological diversity and changes through the seasons and over the years.

In 2012 Berman and Sutton launched their massive Wyoming Grasslands Photographic Project, a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, Wyoming Chapter, and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Working in the tradition of late-nineteenth-century explorers and photographers of the American West, Berman and Sutton shot more than 50,000 digital photographs of Wyoming prairie, from the Red Desert of southwestern Wyoming to the Thunder Basin National Grassland of the state’s northeastern corner. The best of their extraordinarily sensitive, revealing, and powerful images appear in these pages, documenting the sweep and the seasons of the Wyoming landscape.

In eloquent words and pictures, including a foreword by environmental historian Dan Flores, Wyoming Grasslands offers dramatic proof of how the land that inspired the likes of Audubon and Bierstadt, while having altered over time, still holds and demands our attention.

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have to create a coherent structure, with balance and with lines and shapes that are beautiful.” It is not enough merely to describe something with the camera; what Sutton wants to describe may be the etherealness of an image or a feeling that emanates from a landscape in front of him. He is, after all is said and done, “consciously setting out to make beautiful art images.”17 Pictures are like poems to him; good ones must have the language of art ingrained in them. 22 Grasslands-final pages

miles; he has put in the hard work, and the rewards are there for him just as long as he keeps working. If he can help people notice the land and the changes to it, he feels rewarded for his efforts. Typically, Berman has spent years “looking at stuff ” before shooting; in the Wyoming work, the landscape is all new to him. Even without the advantage of those years, the body of work that Berman has shot of the Wyoming grasslands captures their fullest expressions of life and death cycles. He

County, 186 Roundtop Mountain, Hot Springs County, 157 Russian knapweed, 9 Sage, Ten Sleep, Washakie County, 36 sagebrush, 6 scarlet globemallow, 6 Schott, John, 19 Sheahan Ranch Bluff, Goshen County, 31 Sheep, Castle Rock, Johnson County, 111 Sheep, Washakie County, 71 Sheridan County location, 53, 80, 85, 96, 97, 109, 139, 183 Shirley Basin, Carbon County, 55, 185 Shore, Stephen, 19 shortgrass prairies, 6 Shoshone National Forest, 23, 181 Sick Cow, Natrona County, 92 Six Mile Hill, Carbon

County, 59 Sodden Ground, Dutch Creek, Sheridan County, 97 Sodden Ground II, Dutch Creek, Sheridan County, 96 soil erosion, 9 Solace of Open Spaces,The (Ehrlich), 17, 23–24 songbird adaptation, 8 South Gap Road, Platte County, 33 South Monument Hill Road, Park County, 198 spadefoot toad, 9 spotted knapweed, 9 Sprinkler, Washakie County, 155 Stieglitz, Alfred, 18 Storm, Laramie County, 131, 177 Storm Clouds and Hay, Albany County, 129 subterranean organisms, 6 Sutton, William S., 2, 16, 17, x; on

Rocky Mountains. The site I studied at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal represents a small remnant of a far more extensive prairie grassland biome. A close inspection of the nature of these prairie grasslands reveals the subtle complexity of ecological relationships and why prairies are never boring to those who take the time to really examine and understand them. Native prairie grasslands once covered a vast stretch of the midsection of North America, from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, Canada,

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