Award-winning, National Geographic photographer Michael "Nick" Nichols, has captured breathtaking images from some of the most remote regions of the world, inspiring the viewer with the beauty and majesty of our Earth. And we all benefit, because, in the end, it's the artists who save the world.
While current political activities regarding the environment may make us angry, and motivate us to protest, that's just a start. Anger only fuels one so far before it makes one bitter and debilitated. Once the punctuated statement has been made it's time to let go of the anger and move to the next step, to be passionately inspired to move forward. And Nichols' images do just that, in the exhibition, Wild: Michael Nichols, currently on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The display presents our planet's miraculous beauty and inspires viewers to preserve it.
Nichols notes, "I've had exhibits in natural history museums but those are going to tell you what a gorilla eats and how much they weigh, this is the first time I've been presented as an artist."
Nichols' stunning, 65-foot tall photos of a redwood and a seqoya are displayed in the Great Stair Hall of the museum, alongside the famous statue of Diana at the top of the stairway and a huge Alexander Calder mobile above.
Nichols broke new ground by using innovative rigging techniques to create an 84-image vertical panorama of a 300-foot-tall, 1,500-year-old redwood tree.
Sid Rodriguez of the Philadelphia Museum of Art asked Nichols, "For the exhibition, these photographs have been re-created as supersized tapestries (essentially fine-art prints) in the Great Stair Hall. Can you describe the process of photographing these beautiful giants?"
Nichols responded, "I think the most important thing I could tell the audience is -- neither one of these trees can you see when you're on the ground. If I'm on the ground, all I see is the bottom branches. I'm not seeing the tree, I'm in the forest. But if you drop a cable down through mid-air, now the cameras can see the tree. We started up high and we dropped two meters at a time. There were three cameras on this thing, and they're...making a panorama and they're coming down and painting the tree. I'm on a computer changing the exposure...
"It was a five-page fold-out in National Geographic. That's what's so cool about what we're doing in Philadelphia. (The images) already served all these purposes...telling stories. Now they're serving more artistic purposes but still conservation purposes. It's still a mind-changing purpose...
"When I made those pictures, I made them to be life-size. They're made with enough detail. When people are standing at the bottom of the Great Stair Hall, they can go up to (the image of) biologist Jim Spickler, the guy in the red, and they see how tall they are in relation..."
The artist is the most important member of the community. It is difficult to remember a stockbroker from the Roman civilization. (attributed to Lord Byron)