Jan 18, 2007

RIP Bradford Washburn

i've been meaning to write this for a few days. i couldn't let Washburn's passing go by without saying a few words and passing along links to his photographs. his death made front page news here in Fairbanks.

his legacy here in Alaska is enormous, as he teamed science, photography, and exploration in a manner that was decades ahead of it's time. his photographs and charts have been instrumental for Alaskan scientist and mountaineers for decades. many count this 'man of the mountain' to have known Denali more intimately than most of of us know anything in our lives.

Ansel Adams said this about his friend:

"It is astounding to realize what tremendous physical risks he took to get these shots- many, for instance, were taken from unpressurized airplanes or helicopters, often at temperatures far below zero, with the door removed and Brad tethered to the opposite side of the cabin.
Even so, the photographs look almost inevitable, perfectly composed. These are not simply documents of McKinley's wilderness; we sense in each one the presence of an individual, highly intelligent eye. The photographs are the result of the explorer's consistent energy of mind and spirit- and so they truly mean something. Add to this the fact that Brad's aerial photographs of the McKinley landscape are the very first of their kind and still the finest ever made of the great natural landmark."

Must see, read, listen:
the book: On High
his photos
an interview with his wife, Barbara, in 2000

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