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'The world will be able to use and see and enjoy my photos:' John Fielder donates 5,000 photographs to public domain

History Colorado will open an exhibition dedicated to the art of John Fielder.

DENVER — Award-winning landscape photographer John Fielder has made a huge donation to History Colorado.

History Colorado announced it will serve as the steward of more than 5,000 photographs Fielder has taken of the landscapes of every county in Colorado.  

The photographs were chosen from more than 200,000 photographs Fielder has taken in the last 50 years. History Colorado said it will digitize and catalog the Colorado images to be easily accessible and searchable by the public.

Fielder's photography of Colorado has been featured in dozens of books, garnered awards, and influenced the passage of laws to protect public lands.

Fielder has effectively photographed every landscape of Colorado since beginning his career in 1973, compiling a record of how Colorado's landscape has changed over the past half-century. 

"My goal was always to reveal and preserve the essence of the place that I think is the most beautiful on Earth: Colorado," Fielder said. "I am humbled that these photos have inspired others and spurred the passage of numerous environmental protection projects and laws across this beautiful state that I love and cherish."

> Watch the full interview with Fielder:

Fielder is well known in Colorado for his "Colorado 1870-2000" photograph book series that he made in partnership with History Colorado. 

The series featured Fielder's photographs of Colorado with matching ones taken by William Henry Jackson 150 years ago, allowing readers to compare and contrast the landscapes.

"I have both a practical and an emotional connection with History Colorado," Fielder said. "I have always been a history buff and ever curious about what life in Colorado was like before I arrived. Seeing the same landscapes that I have explored as they appeared decades ago – and through the eyes and lenses of people who shared my passion for Earth – inside History Colorado’s collection has always fascinated me. Since History Colorado is a leading institution for historic preservation it felt like the natural caretaker for my work."

History Colorado will open an exhibition at the History Colorado Center in late summer of 2023 dedicated to the art of John Fielder and create a rotating gallery of his work starting in January 2024.

Credit: History Colorado
John Fielder at the History Colorado Center.

"The magnitude of John’s donation to the people of Colorado is as breathtaking as the landscapes he captures," History Colorado’s Executive Director and State Historic Preservation Officer Dawn DiPrince said.

"This body of work represents the culmination of a lifetime dedicated to documenting and preserving the vistas that define our beloved state so that future generations might be both inspired in their stewardship and informed of how humanity has impacted these lands we call home."

Credit: John Fielder
Garden of the Gods City Park, Colorado Springs

"I have come to know that photographs can influence human action," Fielder said. "Though I want people to be able to enjoy and savor the simple and manifest beauty inherent in my images, I also want the photos to influence how they act in their lives. I hope people who view them will understand the inextricable connectivity between all living things on the entire planet Earth, as well as the delicate connectivity between the environments, or ecosystems, in which life exists."

"As my knowledge of the science of ecology evolved, it has become perfectly clear to me that Earth is a much smaller thing than we had ever imagined, and it is constantly shrinking in relation to the number of creatures demanding to live on it," Fielder said. "The web of life promoted by the connectivity of all things, animate or inanimate, is fragile and when it unravels, humanity will no longer be able to exist."    

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