Pete Bengeyfield 

                                                   Photography of the American Wild   

     

The Tetons turn an impossible shade of salmon in sunrise light.  The way a grizzly raises her head to sniff the wind brings to mind not a ferocious bear, but your Labrador retriever. The rising sun behind Bush Key in the Dry Tortugas silhouettes thousands of Sooty terns in flight.  The brown eye of a bighorn ram follows you warily.  The wild is full of pictures.

It has been my privilege, over the past thirty years, to make the images in these galleries. The experiences I have had  in making them are beyond value.  But the image is only a small slice of the total experience.  For neither film nor pixils can convey what it is to make eye contact with a bull moose, or smell the wind off a glacier, or peer over the heart-stopping drop behind Delicate Arch.  The process always transcends the product.

Nonetheless, these images represent a personal vision of the American wild.  They are made only on public land and only in places that have been protected with the idea of maintaining the natural landscape - our National Parks, State Parks, and Wilderness areas. Photographs like these are generally not possible where there is grazing, logging, mining, dammed rivers, polluted air, and - in the case of wildlife - hunting.  It is fitting and proper that these places exist. As the opportunity for personal seclusion and adventure diminishes, the need for them will increase.  I hope they will be a reminder of the values that are compromised by allowing development in the present close out opportunities to experience wildness in the future.