Thomas D. Mangelsen at the National Museum of Wildlife Art


Thomas D. Mangelsen,  Rainwalk , 2002.

Thomas D. Mangelsen, Rainwalk, 2002.

Thomas D. Mangelsen,  First Light , 2010,

Thomas D. Mangelsen, First Light, 2010,

Thomas D. Mangelsen,  Bathtime in Maasailand , 1994,

Thomas D. Mangelsen, Bathtime in Maasailand, 1994,

Forty classic photographs by Thomas D. Mangelsen, photographs which the renowned photographer himself refers to as his legacy photographs, have been selected for a retrospective traveling museum exhibition set to launch in 2018 and tour nationwide. The exhibition, titled, Thomas D. Mangelsen: A Life In The Wild, is scheduled for its debut display at the National Museum of Wildlife Art from October 20, 2018 to May 5, 2019.

Among photographs which members of the public will certainly be familiar with are Polar Dance from 1989 of polar bears appearing to dance, Mountain Outlaw, from 2014 of a grizzly bear charging head-on through the snow, and, from 1998, Catch of the Day, which captures the exact moment that a spawning salmon, trying to leap over a waterfall along Alaska’s Brooks River, soars right into the waiting jaws of a massive brown bear. About Catch of the Day, Todd Wilkinson (author, The Last Great Wild Places: Forty Years of Wildlife Photography by Thomas D. Mangelsen), has written that it is not only one of the most widely circulated wildlife photographs in history, but also a monumental achievement in photography because it occurred before the advent of digital cameras and involves no digital manipulation. But not all photographs in the exhibit, some of which measure 10 feet across, are of bears. Far from it.

Exhibition subjects include American bison, Arctic fox, bald eagle, Bengal tiger, black bear, bobcat, bohemian & cedar waxwings, brown bear, coyote, elephant, flowers (including poppies and lupine), giraffe, great gray owl, grizzly bear, ground squirrel, kestrel, king penguin, landscapes such as Alaska's Denali range and the Great Smoky Mountains, leopard, lilac breasted roller, moose, mountain lion, polar bear, Sandhill crane, silverback mountain gorilla, groves of trees including redwood and aspen, western tanager, and zebra.

One of the most prolific nature photographers of our time, Thomas Mangelsen has been described as a spiritual descendant of pioneering American nature photographers Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter, and Edward Weston. Bill Allen, the now retired editor in chief of National Geographic, considers Mangelsen to be one of the most important nature photographers of his generation. In addition, Mangelsen is also as much a conservationist as he is an artist.

Thomas 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.

Thomas Mangelsen has traveled to the wildest corners of North America, Africa, and beyond, for more than 40 years and produced a body of work second to none. At a time when digital technology is, notoriously, conditioning users to have shorter attention spans, A Life In The Wild stands as a testament by Mangelsen and the rewards that can come to those, like him, who get close to nature.

The Thomas D. Mangelsen: A Life In The Wild Tour is produced by David J. Wagner, L.L.C. ( in partnership with Thomas D. Mangelsen, Inc. (

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