NANPA President Responds to Loss of Galen RowellAugust 11, 2002
I'm sure most of you have now heard about the tragic deaths of Galen and Barbara Rowell. The news came to me via an email from Darrell Gulin and before long, I received emails from folks across the country who had just learned about their passing. Life can seem so unfair and so fleeting in these times.
For the North American Nature Photography Association, I want to express how saddened and shocked we all are by this tragedy. Galen was a former charter member of NANPA and we will be forever grateful for his dedication and effort to help establish our organization into a viable entity.
For nature photography, we are indeed a small family of artisans and professionals and one loss is way too much for us to handle. when we lose one of our icons, the loss cuts even deeper. Our only saving grace is that through his writings and his extraordinary photography, we will have memories, reminders, and inspiration of what Galen contributed to the world.
Although I never knew Galen, I did have the opportunity to meet him at the very first NANPA summit in Fort Meyers, Florida. I was also in the audience when he gave one of the very first keynote presentations during that most historic event. It certainly left an impression. One of my most cherished books in my library remains his "Galen Rowell's Vision: The art of adventure photography." I remember reading the entire book during a photo shoot at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. I couldn't put it down. And of course, I always looked forwarding to reading his monthly column in Outdoor Photographer.
For the nature photography world, we have lost one of our family members, one of our primary sources of inspiration. For the world, we have lost a leader in the environmental movement. With his personal vision and dedication to not only the craft of photography, but to the environment, Galen made a difference in how others view the world. He transformed his dreams into realities. He was forever the risk taker, not only in trekking through the remote regions of the world, but in how he pushed the limits of equipment, film, and the new technology of digital imaging. Through his trails and tribulations, he dared all of us to push the envelope a bit further.
Through Galen's writings in his column for Outdoor Photographer, Galen challenged us to merge our dreams into realities, showing us through his experiences how to use the medium of photography to create a change for the better. Through the passion in his heart, he showed us how to communicate to others about how important our global natural heritage and our cultural heritages are.
Dedicated, risk-taking, bold, passionate, and visionary... these are what I will remember about Galen.
A NANPA Tribute to Galen and Barbara Rowell
There are times when nature claims its own,
I have seen him scale a wall, race to catch a rainbow
He danced on cliff sides. And on the lip of the abyss,
In constant flight from aging and the ordinary, he was
Live on, Galen. We will chase your rainbows with you
For us who remain, it will never again be quite the same.
Dr. Richard Perkins, NANPA Board member