Thomas Mangelsen

Thomas Mangelsen will visit the Wallace State campus Thursday for a 6 p.m. lecture.

World-renowned photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen will be speaking at Wallace State College’s Evelyn Burrow Museum this week as part of the “Thomas D. Mangelsen – A Life In The Wild” exhibition that is now on display at the museum.

Mangelsen will visit Wallace State Thursday for a 6 p.m. lecture at the Otis and Evelyn Burrow Center for the Fine and Performing Arts. The lecture is open to the public, and Mangelsen will also host a gallery visit and book signing after the lecture.

“It’s 40 of my best images taken over the last 50 years,” Mangelsen said.

A prolific photographer and conservationist for the last five decades, Mangelsen was named the 2011 Conservation Photographer of the Year by Nature’s Best Photography, placing his work in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. He was named one of the 40 Most Influential Nature Photographers by Outdoor Photography, and one of the 100 Most Important People in Photography by American Photo magazine. 

The North American Nature Photography Association has named him Outstanding Nature Photographer of the Year; while the British Broadcasting Corporation gave him its coveted, prestigious award, Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

One of his most iconic photos, “Catch of the Day,” which captures the exact moment that a spawning salmon soars right into the waiting jaws of a massive brown bear, has been called one of the most famous wildlife photos ever taken, and this exhibition is a look back at that photo and some of the other most notable photos of his storied career.

Visitors to the exhibition can see “Catch of the Day,” along with Mangelsen’s photos of polar bears dancing in Canada, a panoramic view of a bull moose in Denali National Park, chimps relaxing in Tanzania and many more birds, landscapes and mammals from across the planet.

“I tried to select images that represent all seven continents,” he said. 

Along with up-close, intimate looks at the animals, the photos in “A Life In The Wild,” also include some wider shots to try to show the animals living in their natural habitats, he said.

Mangelsen said his lecture Thursday night will be a retrospective of his work, including how he got started in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska to talking about how he took some of the photos that are on display in the exhibition.

“My story, like everybody’s story, is different,” he said. 

“A Life in the Wild” opened in Omaha last fall, and the tour’s subsequents stops at museums around the country have received great feedback and attendance from its visitors, he said.

Even after traveling all around the world, this week’s trip to Wallace State will be Mangelsen’s first trip to Alabama, and he said he is always looking to get out and meet new people to inspire them to get out into the outdoors and make their voices heard to preserve the natural world.

“I look forward to it,” he said. “I hope people enjoy it.”

The “Thomas D. Mangelsen – A Life In The Wild” exhibition is scheduled to run until Dec. 15. The Evelyn Burrow Museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free.

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