Wilderness & Sublimity: Photography and the Conservation of Hells Canyon

The Third Show in Josephy Center for Arts and Culture’s
Wild Landscapes Series


The Josephy Center for Arts and Culture in NE Oregon is developing a fine art photography show celebrating the wild lands and conservation of Hells Canyon.  The show’s opening reception is August 5, 2017 at 7 PM and will run until September 26.  It is our hope to then provide the show to other venues in Oregon, Idaho and nationally.  We have self published a book (http://www.blurb.com/b/8073187-wilderness-sublimity) to share both the art from the show and the amazing success story in land conservation.  The Josephy Center is offering an art residency, including a five day Snake River whitewater expedition through Hells Canyon, to six professional outdoor photographers and one writer.  The six photographers, who have committed to the trip, are: Boyd Norton, Jason Yale, Amy Gulick, Terry Donnelly, Rick McEwan, and Kendrick Moholt.  Cam Scott, a published writer and poet, has accepted the position of resident writer.

In the late 1960s, the last wild, un-dammed section of Hells Canyon was under threat of flood by damming.  Engineering field surveys and core sampling was underway and companies were in the courts trying to decide if the dam was to be run as a private or public corporation.  During this time, photographer Boyd Norton ran the river by raft, published photos in the January 1970 issue of Audubon Magazine and, with Brock Evans of the Sierra Club, took his photographs to the desk of Senator Bob Packwood.  Senator Packwood was astounded by the beauty and scale of Hells Canyon. Boyd, and other members of the Idaho Alpine Club, founded Hells Canyon Preservation Council. HCPC, with the support of  many other groups and Senator Packwood, worked for eight years to protect the great gorge.  The result was one of our nation’s greatest successes in natural resource conservation and it was inspired by the art of photography.  Mr. Norton has agreed to provide the Josephy Center his original work as a basis for our celebration and to participate in the creation of new work in 2017.  In addition to Mr. Norton, we have invited five more leaders in outdoor photography to create and show fine art photographs captured in the canyon.  All artistic decisions on how the 2017 photography is produced will be the responsibility of each artist. It is our expectation and vision that some of the art will be similar to the original photographs taken by Boyd Norton, but most will be a fresh, new and extremely different interpretation of the landscape that has been preserved.  This comparison and contrast with the past work will dramatically demonstrate what the preservation of North America’s natural treasures can provide for future generations.  And, this unique body of work, old and new, will be a shining example of how fine art photography can be a driving force in shaping our world.

We appreciate the support from Ann Werner, Winding Waters River Expeditions, anonymous private donors, and the Collins Foundation in helping to make this exhibit happen

Assignment photo for 1859 Magazine. Cropped version used a Cover Photo for the magazine.


Rafting Hells Canyon- Snake River.
A panomic view from Suicide Point in Hells Canyon.

Don’t forget to stop by the Josephy Center for Arts and Culture to get your copy of the Wilderness & Sublimity book for $62.00 or go to http://www.blurb.com/b/8073187-wilderness-sublimity for online purchases.