His goal has always been to win support for conservation issues by “focusing on what’s beautiful on the Earth.” Hailed by William Conway, former president of the Wildlife Conservation Society, as "the most prolific and sensitive recorder of a rapidly vanishing natural world," Wolfe has taken an estimated two million images in his lifetime and travels nearly nine months out of the year photographing for new projects, leading photographic tours and seminars, and giving inspirational presentations to corporate, educational, conservation and spiritual groups.
Long before the genre of ‘conservation photography’ was conceived, Wolfe was practicing it. In 1997 he created a conservation-themed photography contest as “an event for the advancement of photography as a unique medium capable of bringing awareness and preservation to our environment through art.” After a very successful run in 2012 in which the International Conservation Photography Awards drew entries from around the world and was exhibited and traveled by The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle, the contest is now in hiatus. Currently Art is judging his ongoing “Compelling Image” contest at www.ShutterLoveOnline.com.
Art Wolfe's work tells a story that is overwhelming, breathtaking, and vast. –Robert Redford
In 1978 he published his first book Indian Baskets of the Northwest Coast with the late Dr. Allan Lobb, a close friend and mentor, who also gave Wolfe a start by putting the young photographer’s work into patients’ rooms at Swedish Medical Center. Wolfe was soon photographing for the world’s top magazines such as National Geographic, Smithsonian, Audubon, GEO, and Terre Sauvage. Magazines all over the world publish his photographs and stories, and his work is licensed for retail products and advertising.
Numerous US and international venues have featured monographs of his work as well his traveling exhibits, Travels to the Edge and Beyond the Lens. He has had four major shows at Seattle’s Frye Art Museum, including One World, One Vision. Today his work is available at the Art Wolfe Gallery in Seattle, Rotella Gallery™ in Las Vegas and New York City, as well as online at prints.artwolfe.com.
Art Wolfe is a virtuoso whose eye brings home, again and again, the absolute need to preserve what we have.—Morgan Freeman
Since 1989 he has published at least one book a year—1997 alone saw seven titles in the United States and abroad. He has released over eighty books, including award-winning The High Himalaya, Water: Worlds between Heaven & Earth, Tribes, Rainforests of the World, Pacific Northwest, Land of Light and Water, as well as numerous children’s titles, including O is for Orca and Animal Action Alphabet. Graphis included his books Light on the Land and the controversial Migrations on its list of the 100 best books published in the 1990s. His books have sold over 500,000 copies and have been translated into eight languages.
In 2000 he formed Wildlands Press and subsequently published much of his signature work: The Living Wild, which has more than 70,000 copies in print worldwide and garnered awards from the National Outdoor Book Awards, Independent Publisher, Applied Arts and Graphis; Africa (2001) and Edge of the EarthCorner of the Sky (2003), both of which captured significant publishing awards, including IPPY (Independent Publishers), Benjamin Franklin (Publishers Marketing Association), and National Outdoor Book Award. Wolfe’s latest books are Human Canvas, Graphis Photography Annual 2014 gold medal winner; and two instructional texts published by Amphoto Books: an updated edition of the bestselling Art of Photographing Nature and The Art of the Photograph with author Rob Sheppard. Coming in 2014 is the Art’s encyclopedic Earth Is My Witness with Insight Editions and an eagerly anticipated second edition of Vanishing Act (Cameron + Company).
The intensity, texture, and strange density of Art Wolfe’s photographs are truly astonishing. —Peter Matthiessen
Wolfe has ventured into the world of television production with “On Location with Art Wolfe,” “Techniques of the Masters” and as host of “American Photo's Safari”, which aired on ESPN 1993-1995. In May 2007 Art made his public television debut with the high definition series “Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge,” an intimate and upbeat series that offers unique insights on nature, culture, and the realm of digital photography. The thirteen-episode first season garnered American Public Television’s 2007 Programming Excellence Award—unprecedented for a first season show. The thirteen-episode second season garnered five Silver Telly Awards, their highest honor, for outstanding achievement. It has been broadcast more than hundreds of thousands times in the United States and is in syndication throughout the world.
Education is a major component of Wolfe’s work, whether it is about the environment or about photography. He leads domestic and international photographic tours as well as regularly giving his Art of Composition seminar. He is a Phase One Digital Artists Series instructor. In an exciting collaboration of the most renowned nature photographers in the world, he is combining forces with Frans Lanting and Thomas Mangelsen on the Masters of Nature Photography workshops (www.mastersofnaturephotography.com).
Art has the broadest range of excellence of any nature photographer I know. —Galen Rowell
Along with his numerous book and television awards, Wolfe is the proud recipient of the Nature's Best Photographer of the Year Award, the North American Nature Photography Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Photographic Society of America’s Progress Medal for his contribution to the advancement of the art and science of photography; he has been awarded with a coveted Alfred Eisenstaedt Magazine Photography Award. The National Audubon Society recognized Wolfe’s work in support of the national wildlife refuge system with its first-ever Rachel Carson Award. In 1999 he was named to the UW Alumni Association’s magazine list of 100 “most famous, fascinating and influential” alumni of the 20th century. He is a member of the American Society of Media Photographers; he is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and has served on the advisory boards for the Wildlife Conservation Society. Wolfe has been a member of Canon’s elite list of renowned photographers Explorers of Light, Microsoft’s Icons of Imaging, Fujifilm’s Talent Team, and Nikon’s NPS Pros.
Wolfe maintains his gallery, stock agency, and production company in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood.