This week PBS is airing the Ken Burns: National Parks – America’s Best Idea
series and two days in I can’t say enough about it. The history and archival footage (inclusive of early photography) intermixed with modern video footage is spellbinding. The quality of this documentary is as good as it gets.
I have been visiting National Parks and inspired by them all my life. It is the beauty of the land & animals that inspired and attracted me to photography. Each story with in this documentary covering the philosophy of park evangelists, naturalists and protectors fuels my passion for these amazing places all the more. The magnificence of Ken Burns work is that it captures the timeless appreciation of our natural world by the great men and women who raised awareness and created the laws forming our National Parks… and aligns it to the philosophies & believes held by viewers like myself. This timeless philosophy of appreciation and protection of our natural world is both an inspiration to further document it and protect it.
National parks… It’s not the story of the place, but the people who devoted themselves to preserving them.
I cannot help but beam with pride as I watch these programs, seeing National Parks I’ve visited and photographed, feeling a deep connection with those that made each park possible. This sense of pride… valuing the struggle of those before me to protect these great lands is what lies beneath the surface of each of my photographs. As most photographers can relate seeing a viewer gasp in awe or become transfixed on a photo is the feedback telling us our moment of inspiration has been transferred to another who could not see it first hand. Ken Burns work elicits this very reaction in me with his documentary story telling and no doubt will impact my future work and the appreciation of those that view it.
The text of the Organic Act of 1872 could not have said it more eloquently, as quoted on Roosevelt Arch, commemorating the creation of our first National Park – Yellowstone National Park:
For The Benefit and Enjoyment of the People
Let us hope that our National Parks continue to to be a source of benefit and enjoyment for the years to come. I cannot wait to see the remaining episodes of National Parks: America’s Best Idea later this week.
[tags]National Parks: America’s Best Idea, Ken Burns, documentary, PBS[/tags]