Finding the soul of Rick Braveheart’s ‘Endangered Landscapes’
Imagine a photography exhibit, featuring color and black and white prints, mounted and printed through various methods, that explores some of America’s National Parks.
Then imagine that exhibit, which will include interactive activities for children, on display in the natural setting of the Swaner EcoCenter that overlooks a 1,200-acre wetlands preserve.
Imagine no more. That’s what is in store for visitors when the nonprofit organization opens “Endangered Landscapes: America’s National Lands,” by Rick Braveheart, on Aug. 25.
“The parks represented are largely those that Rick has actually lived in as an artist in residence,” said Nell Larson, executive director of the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter. “He has been an artist in residence 12 times, so a lot of work comes from those locations.”
Some of the images include scenes from Zion, Bryce and Grand Teton national parks, as well as other parks from across the United States.
“There are also a few photographs from parks that he has just visited,” Larson said.
The exhibit will feature about 50 photographs and some video installations as well.
“While the photographs are the backbone of the exhibit, Rick has taken them by using different methods,” Larson explained. “He used modern digital photography, but he also used film from a variety of cameras including a couple of antique cameras.”
Braveheart also printed the photographs using a variety of techniques.
“There are some ink prints, but also encaustic prints on sheets of birch, or silver gelatin prints on fiber paper,” Larson said. “There will be a variety of types of presentations.”
“Endangered Landscapes” will also include a number of items including National Park memorabilia, antique cameras and a glass negative.
“These will be set up so people can look through the lens to see what the experience was like taking photographs long ago,” Larson said.
There will also be vintage National Parks posters and vintage postcards that were actually sent to people in the early 1900s.
“Much like we are focused on education at the Swaner, it is also Rick’s passion,” Larson said. “In addition to showing the photographs, he wants people to learn about the challenges and changes that our public lands are facing. So, he tells that story visually through these photographs.”
Information panels will accompany the photographs.
“We’ll also present some activities for kids that are designed by our educators here at the Swaner,” she said. “We’ll teach them camping at a mock campsite. They’ll be able to color their own postcards.
“We love having hands-on activities for kids, because we know looking at photographs isn’t as riveting for kids as it is for adults,” Larson said.
The Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter has a long-standing relationship with Braveheart, and that’s how the nonprofit is able to show the exhibit.
“Several years ago, Rick was traveling to Utah to do some work in the area,” Larson said. “He had learned about us online and contacted us and asked if we would have any use for a couple of photographs if he donated them.”
The EcoCenter jumped at the opportunity.
“We met him and he took a few photos of the Preserve that many people may be familiar with, because we use them all the time,” Larson said.
As the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter developed its traveling exhibits program that started two years ago with Mountain Lion!” and “Utah Wilderness 50” last year, Larson reached out to Braveheart to see if he had any ideas.
“It so happened he was working on the launch of an exhibit in honor of the National Park Service Centennial,” she said. “It seemed like a perfect fit.”
“Endangered Landscapes” will celebrate its world premiere at the Swaner EcoCenter.
After Nov. 27, the exhibit will spend the next two years on tour.
“We are the national launch,” Larson said. “We were thrilled that Rick selected us to be the launching pad for the exhibit. It’s a perfect fit with our mission and our programs.
“We love the opportunity to share new information and experiences to our community and visitors from near and far,” she said. “We’re excited to have this exhibit, because living in Utah, we live amongst the national parks and we feel this exhibit is the perfect way to celebrate the centennial. The actual centennial is Aug. 25, so we are opening the exhibit to the public that day.”
The Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter, 1258 Center Dr. at Kimball Junction, will present Rick Braveheart’s “Endangered Landscapes: American’s National Lands” exhibit from Aug. 25 to Nov. 27. A sneak preview for members will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 24, at 7 p.m. For more information about memberships and the exhibit, visit http://www.swanerecocenter.org.
Historian preserves Reed Smoot’s conservation efforts that led to the forming of the National Park Service.