Photographer for National Geographic I founded the Ancient Art Archive to explore and preserve humanity's oldest stories.
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Fernbank Forest is a green, cool oasis inside the vastness of Atlanta. Walking these trails, it is hard to believe that I'm in the Southern United States largest urban area. @peteressick so looking forward to your coming show about this urban forest. #atlanta#fernbank
Negative handprints are the universal human symbol. They occur on 6 continents and across the entire span of modern human creativity. I’ve always thought of the handprint as the original selfie, the very first way that we marked our passage through the world. This month only join the Ancient Art Archive @ancientartarchive at the $100 or greater level and receive a signed 6x9 print of this image of Ten Negative Handprints from Fish Canyon, Utah. Your contribution helps preserve and explore humanity’s oldest stories. Just follow the link in my this profile.
Clouds boil over Monument Valley. This is the classic American landscape and it never fails to impress. Towering desert spires, dramatic skies. The monuments themselves that we know from so many western movies lie in the Navajo Nation. Part of, yet very much apart from the United States.
I shot this image on my first trip for the @ancientartarchive headed from one site to another. #Oljato-MonumentValley
The start of Summer and the red efts are changing color. They are becoming a less conspicuous version of the Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescen). At some point they migrate to streams and ponds to take on their aquatic form an look more like conventional salamanders. For now they still crowd the trails on my morning walk. #newt#home#tennessee
Happy Fathers Day! Here is my favorite man at one of our favorite places. Of all the gifts my father has given me one of the most precious is a love for the wild places in the world. Some of my earliest memories are of hiking and camping with him. It was Dad who first introduced me to the Grand Canyon. He taught me that there is value to keeping places wild and inaccessible. Dad for this and so much more, thank you and happy #Fathersday
Some rock art is so delicate and fantastic it captures the imagination. These are Barrier Canyon Style paintings that I photographed in Utah last year for the @Ancientartarchive. What do they mean? I don't know but the images repeat common themes in BCS art. Elongated figures, anthropomorphic images and that bird on the left. #utah
So what’s it look like on assignment? Here is my assistant catching some much needed rest last summer when we were shooting for the @Ancientartarchive. We tend to shoot late and get up early so camp often looks like this, just a sleeping pad in the dirt on the side of a trailhead. In this case, Wild Horse wash on the San Rafael Swell in Utah. #utah#dirtbag
The Cuban National Ballet School, Havana
For the past few years I have been privileged to lead people to people cultural exchanges in Havana through @natgeotravel. Photography is a wonderful way to explore a culture. I will be leading one last cultural exchange to Cuba this fall.
One of the great joys of Summer is riding a bike in the evening. #summer
Moonrise over Rio Harbor
The cycle of our closest planet controls the rise and fall of the oceans. All life comes from the sea. Celebrate #worldoceansday#rio@natgeocreative
Morning walk with the pups. We've had so much rain this spring... #Sewanee
The winter wheat is almost ready for harvest at home here in Tennessee. Whenever I see a field of any sort of grain I'm stuck by how much we owe those plants. Much of the success of the human race can be traced back to the tremendous abundance that grains yield. Now if it will ever stop raining in the South maybe farmers can get their crops in! #farmers#tennessee
Blue Ice outside Cierva Cove, Antarctica
The news today that a Republican President is removing the United States from the Paris Climate Accord deeply saddens me. The Paris accord might have been imperfect but at least it was a plan.There is no plan B on climate and the stakes are impossible to over state. Modern human society is rooted in a stable climate. The geologic epochs of carbon that we are pumping into the atmosphere will make the climate highly variable. Not just hotter summers and colder winters but ice ages coming and going. The well founded fear is that agriculture -the basis of our civilization- is impractical in a variable climate. Without agriculture the human carrying capacity of the earth is hundreds of thousands of people, not billions.
The science on climate change in not in question. Even the shareholders of Exxon Mobile are demanding accountability.
If you live in the US and are as concerned as I am call your senators, call your representative and tell them that you will not stand for the current administration putting the lives of billions of people at risk.
Toroweap Campsite, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
My favorite campsite in the US has to be the National Park campsite near Toroweap Overlook. Totally off the grid and completely without services. Its a remote part of the Arizona strip that always reminds me how wild the American west still is.
Earlier this week I had the privilege of hanging out with acclaimed author Kevin Wilson. Kevin is the brilliance behind the novels Perfect Little World and The Family Fang. He is reading next week in Sewanee June 7 4:30 pm, Gailor Hall. Check out the @sewaneeletters IG feed for more info and announcements of other readings.
A thistle growing outside my office door. I guess it's time to weed...
A crazy storm sky over the San Rafael River in the San Rafael Swell, central Utah. The Swell is a giant dome shaped anticline of sandstone shale and limestone. Its Eastern edge -the San Rafael Reef- formed a significant barrier to East-West travel across Utah. Even today there are few paths into the Swell. #utah
Sego Canyon, Utah photo by @salvarezphoto
When I first saw paintings like these in the Utah desert they completely freaked me out. I'd been driving across the country and made the turn off I-70 toward some "indian writings" -that's how the map listed them- almost at random. It was winter in the high desert, it was night and I was alone. It seemed like a long drive down a dirt road. The canyon narrowed as I drove through silt beds and dry washes. I pulled into an old corral that served as a parking area and as my headlights swept the canyon wall I could not believe what the lights illuminated. Human sized figures with horns, huge hands, snakes dangling from their bodies. I opened the car door, took out my camera and fired off a few fast frames. Looking through the viewfinder undid me. See the rock art like that, alone and at night, vulnerable was like looking into someone else's dream. A dream I did not understand and could not deal with. I was so unnerved that I did not even leave the car, just shot through space in between the open door and the hood. Like I wanted to keep as much mass in between me and those figures as possible. I shot half a dozen frames at most then got back in the car and sped away. I drove the rest of the way east across Utah and then across half of Colorado. That was almost 30 years ago. I still go back to Sego Canyon every chance I get. Although they do not frighten me like they once did, the images written on the canyon wall still move me. They make me sad as well. I see people paint and scratch over artwork that is centuries old. One of the reasons I started the Ancient Art Archive is to help preserve artwork and places like Sego Canyon so that these stories are not lost forever. The link in @ancientartarchive profile takes you to our support page. #ancientartarchive#utah#segocanyon
The glory of public land is that it belongs to all of us! Right now the Department of the Interior is reviewing National Monument designation for 26 monuments. They are doing it with an eye to roll back or eliminate protection for much of our public land. Research has shown that anytime public land is given to the states it results in less protection and limited public access.
The Bears Ears -where this photo was made- is on the top of the chopping block. The Bears Ears contains over 100,000 archeological sites. The Monument was developed with extensive local consultation and a groundbreaking coalition of Native American Tribal Governments. Lend your voice with a letter to the Department of the Interior or a phone call 202-208-7351 The Comment period ends tomorrow.
Summer Lake Oregon State Wildlife Area
Last week’s trip to Oregon’s high desert was surprisingly green. There have been epic amounts of rain and snow this year. So glad that the western drought has broken. #Oregon#lakecounty@thephotosociety
Sunrise at Sumner Lake, people have lived in this sage brush covered landscape for almost 15,000 years. Nearby Paisley Cave has the oldest dates of human occupation in America. A collection of hundreds of sage brush sandals from Fort Rock Cave are dated from more than 10,000 years ago. I've been in Oregon tracing and speaking about ancient art. The landscape is inspiring. #Oregon@thephotosociety@natgeocreative@ancientartarchive
Trumpeter Swans at Summer Lake State Wildlife Area, Oregon
Trumpeter swan (Cygnus buccinator) are the heaviest native bird in North America. Adults can weigh up to 30 pounds and have a wingspan of 10 feet. In 1933 there were fewer than 70 trumpeters in the lower 48 states and extinction seemed nearly certian. Careful management has brought the wild population back to 46,000. It is a tremendous wildlife success story. #Oregon#morning
Listen to the sound. The frogs and birds and the sounds of coming night. This valley in Oregon has at least 13,000 years of human habitation. For 13,000 years people have greeted nightfall here with the same sounds. #Oregon#nightfallb#soundscape
In 1879 amateur archaeologist Marcelino Sanz was digging in the floor of a cave on his property in Cantabria. His 8 year old daughter Maria told him to look at the ceiling. There, perfectly preserved was one of the great treasures of Paleolithic Art. The artwork inside Altamira is so well preserved that initially people argued that the paintings were faked.
They are not! The bison polychrome paintings date from the Magdalenian (around 14,000 BP) but there was a long period of on again off again painting in Altamira that dates from the beginnings of human occupation of Spain 35,000 years ago.
Those dates and time ranges are difficult to comprehend. We have been artists for a long, long time. It is part of who we are. Follow @ancientartarchive to follow along as I explore and preserve humanity’s oldest stories. And follow the link in the profile to join the Ancient Art Archive and support our work. #spain#altamira
Scott Newman, Ph.D., senior bioinformatics research scientist and Xin Zhou, Ph.D., a senior bioinformatics research scientist. The two are looking at a genomic visualization from ProteinPaint. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: shot for Popular Mechanics June 2017 issue @stjuderesearch@popularmechanics#ItWillTakeAnArmy
Xin Zhou, Ph.D., a senior bioinformatics research scientist. Looking at ProteinPaint on his screen, the web application for visualizing genomic data: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: shot for Popular Mechanics June 2017 issue @stjuderesearch@popularmechanics#ItWillTakeAnArmy
The Cumberland Plateau is full of caves.
Some of those caves are full of art.
In the past 2 decades hard work by Jan Simek at University of Tennessee and @alancressler has rewritten the deep artistic history of the Southeast. Their project identifying and documenting the "unnamed caves" has shed new light on what native american communities saw, thought and felt. There are now over 100 documented cave art sites in the Southeast thanks to their work.
The @ancientartarchive is now working with them to bring modern imagining technology, 3D mapping and Virtual Reality to those sites. It is enabling 20 years of work to be seen in a whole new way.
Please follow the link in this profile to join the Ancient Art Archive. We will be announcing some incredible discoveries from the South in the near future. But we can only continue exploring and preserving humanity's oldest stories with your help!
Barrier Canyon Style Petroglyphs Emery County, Utah
Barrier Canyon Style rock art is incredible, expressive, and enigmatic. follow my new @ancientartarchive Feed for more images as I explore and preserve humanity's oldest stories. #utah#bcs
Muir Beach, CA
Tragedy narrowly averted.
It is springtime and all the reptiles are out. I stopped this weekend to help this large Slider (Trachemys scripta) out of the road. Happy to report that both turtle and I survived the sparse traffic on this Tennessee back road. #spring#turtle
The ancient artwork in Chauvet cave is beyond compare. It is 36,000 years old yet seems so fresh. Standing in front of this artwork is a moving experience. It is as if the artist is talking straight to you across an unimaginable gulf of time. We don't have to wonder what paleolithic people thought, they tell their stories on the cave wall.
I founded the Ancient Art Archive to help preserve and explore humanity's first stories (there is a link at @ancientartarchive that tells you more).
Follow the new @ancientartarchive feed for more
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