John is a fourth generation Montanan, who fell in love with nature as a child playing on the shores of Lake Inez during the day, while at night his father, a western landscape artist, introduced him to Albert Bierstadt, Charlie Russell and Edward Curtis. He received his grandfather’s Kodak Autographic Junior camera at age 12. That inspired him to build a working darkroom to learn about black and white photography.
In the early 70’s he worked in the woods as a chain sawyer before attending the University of Montana where he earned an undergraduate degree in Forest Science and a master’s in Wilderness Ecology. While working for the School of Forestry as a graduate student he was responsible for the darkroom and spent hours developing film and printing negatives. At the university he conducted a variety of wildland studies and inventories requiring extensive photo-documentation. In 1981 he won the Danny On Memorial Scholarship for wilderness photography, which launched him into a lifelong pursuit of nature photography. His projects ranged from conducting wilderness inventories of public lands in Montana, Idaho and Arizona, to ground truthing Landsat GIS vegetation data in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. He facilitated wilderness and adventure courses in the “Bob” and other remote and wild areas of Montana.
In 1990 he and his wife and three other partners founded an experiential outdoor school on a ranch in Montana’s Swan Valley. In addition to directing the school, he continued to lead outdoor expeditions throughout Montana and the West. He studied and traveled through over eight million acres of wilderness with at least one if not several cameras at hand. In 2008 he retired to pursue photography full-time. He continues to live and work on his ranch in the Swan Valley with his wife, two daughters, a dog, two cats, eight horses and a lot of wildlife. John is primarily self-taught with an original eye and style evolving over 50 years of wilderness living, working and photographing the outdoors. His photographs of Montana, the Crown of the Continent and the Swan Valley reveal a deep personal understanding of nature and her mystery and grandeur.