Celebrated Nature Photographer Donates Life’s Work to Public Domain
A noted landscape photographer has donated his entire life’s work to the public domain, entrusting it to History Colorado.
John Fielder, billed as “Colorado’s most famous nature photographer,” has donated more than 5,000 photographs that immortalize the state’s landscapes.
72-year-old Fielder has been photographing Colorado’s beautiful scenery since 1973 and has taken the decision to revoke his personal rights to the images.
“You know, I never felt as if I owned these photos that I’ve made and now donated to History Colorado,” Fielder says.
“I’m just very excited that it can be the repository for this not only physical, in the way of my photographic contribution, but an emotional contribution of someone who was blessed to know that he belonged in Colorado from an early age.”
Fielder’s photos truly are special, inspiring wanderlust in the viewer as they are transported to the Dominguez Canyon, Gunnison River, and Eagles Nest Wilderness.
The nature photographer prides himself on having traveled to each of Colorado’s 104,984 square miles over the past 40 years. His work has been featured in dozens of books, some of which have picked up awards. His photography has even influenced the passage of laws to protect public lands in Colorado and beyond.
“My goal was always to reveal and preserve the essence of the place that I think is the most beautiful on Earth: Colorado,” Fielder says.
“I am humbled that these photos have inspired others and spurred the passage of numerous environmental.”
Fielder’s photography has influenced policy that protects Colorado lands including Congress’ Colorado Wilderness Act of 1993, which created 36 federally protected Wilderness areas that amount to 660,000 acres.
History Colorado will look after the collection which will make it easily accessible and searchable by the public. Over the coming months, the charitable organization will catalog over 5,000 photos and make them digitally available.
“I have both a practical and an emotional connection with History Colorado,” Fielder says.
“I have always been a history buff and ever curious about what life in Colorado was like before I arrived.
“Seeing the same landscapes that I have explored as they appeared decades ago — and through the eyes and lenses of people who shared my passion for Earth — inside History Colorado’s collection has always fascinated me.
“Since History Colorado is a leading institution for historic preservation it felt like the natural caretaker for my work.”