For Mike Kasic, the Yellowstone River represents the West as it’s meant to be—wild, fast and free flowing. Mike should know: He spends a lot of time swimming the Yellowstone, looking for fish and almost becoming one himself. In particular, he looks for the native Yellowstone cutthroat trout that represents, for him, the soul of the river. Unfortunately, all is not well for the cutthroat, and Mike finds fewer and fewer in his subaquatic searches. He sees the loss as emblematic of disappearing wilderness. “Take it away,” he says, “and we lose the ability to understand our world.” Playful yet elegiac, Fishman neatly captures the vital and tenuous connection between man and nature.
Green speaks volumes about the extinction crisis as we see a monkey suffer, but the story of this ailing orangutan in Indonesia has no narration, no dialogue, no words of any kind—apart from the occasional fragmentary lyrics of songs. This wordless commentary on our consumption and deeply troubling exploitation of land is powerful, uncomfortable, painful and prophetic.
At the headwaters of the Flathead—America’s most pristine river located in one of the most diverse ecosystems in North America—a mining project is proposed that involves mountaintop removal and coal bed methane drilling. The project would destroy an irreplaceable landscape, critical habitat for both rare and endangered species. In Flathead Wild, we see how photographers from the International League of Conservation Photographers capture the beauty of this wilderness treasure as a step toward protecting it. Says one of the iLCP team, “If people see these images, they’re going to want to do the right thing.” —PK