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Podcast: History Colorado Showcases John Fielder

John Fielder stands as Colorado’s most influential landscape and nature photographer, with his career spanning over the last four decades. Fielder has captured breathtaking and unique scenic views from all over the state. On July 22, the History Colorado Center proudly unveiled its latest exhibit, “REVEALED: John Fielder’s Favorite Place.”

This month on the Bucket List Community Cafe podcast, we sat down with Luke Perkins, History Colorado’s manager of communications and public relations, to gain insight into what sets John Fielder apart from the rest, and what Denverites can learn from his photos.

Listen now on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

The exhibit’s grand opening was nothing short of a success, drawing in a crowd of around 450 individuals, including Colorado Governor Jared Polis, and of course, John Fielder himself.

“John Fielder has a very avid following, a bunch of people that are really interested in and invested in his photography and his work as a conservationist,” Perkins said. “It was an incredibly successful opening for us.”

Fielder was inspired by great landscape photographers like William Henry Jackson, Eliot Porter, Ansel Adams and Enos Mills. Not only did he study their work but he also believed the land belongs to future generations and we need to conserve it.  

In an interview with History Colorado he said “if we’re going to make the appropriate decisions to arrest this alarming speed of change in the landscape and the loss of biodiversity on Earth we need to learn from the past, and maybe my photos can be the basis, the foundation for judging just how dramatic the change is, maybe how even more dramatic and alarming it will be in the future.” 

The collaboration between Fielder and History Colorado traces back to the end of 2022 when both sides hoped to share some of Fielder’s work. Fielder initially donated around 5,000 photos and the donation has since grown to over 7,300 photos.

The exhibit focuses specifically on a journey that Fielder took to Colorado’s Needle Mountains in August 2005 and immerses visitors in Fielder’s planning, preparation, gear and amazing photos from that trip.

John Fielder’s passion for photography and successful long-lasting career prompted him to allow anyone to view all 7,300 photos for free through History Colorado’s website. Although, if people are interested in high-resolution copies of Fielder’s photos you must connect with the Stephen H. Hart Research Center and pay a nominal access fee ($17 for a 300 dpi image) for the images you want.

“I believe we have photographs from 62 of the 64 different counties in Colorado. These are photographs of wildflowers—they are photographs of our national parks, our state parks, of different ranches and farms around the state,” Perkins said. “They really do span the entirety of the centennial state. And, kind of tap into John’s claim of having seen all 104,000 square miles of Colorado.”

Perkins hopes visitors of “REVEALED: John Fielder’s Favorite Place” can reflect on engaging in Colorado’s public lands and think about how Colorado’s outdoors is connected to everything we do. Luke truly wants visitors to think about what makes Colorado special to them.

For those eager to witness “REVEALED: John Fielder’s Favorite Place,” the exhibit will be available at the History Colorado Center until February 2024. Plus, to ensure that Fielder’s legacy lives on, History Colorado has dedicated its second-floor mezzanine to serve as a rotating gallery of Fielder’s work for the next five years.

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