George Shiras III and the Birth of Wildlife Photography
Selected as a 2020 Michigan Notable Book by the Library of Michigan
In 1906 George Shiras III (1859-1942) published a series of remarkable nighttime photographs in National Geographic. Taken with crude equipment, the black-and-white photographs featured leaping whitetail deer, a beaver gnawing on a tree, and a snowy owl perched along the shore of a lake in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The pictures, stunning in detail and composition, celebrated American wildlife at a time when many species were going extinct because of habitat loss and unrestrained hunting. As a congressman and lawyer, Shiras joined forces with his friend Theodore Roosevelt and scientists in Washington, DC, who shaped the conservation movement during the Progressive Era. His legal and legislative efforts culminated with the passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Camera Hunter recounts Shiras's life and craft as he traveled to wild country in North America, refined his trail-camera techniques, and advocated for the protection of wildlife. This biography serves as an important record of Shiras's accomplishments as a visual artist, wildlife conservationist, adventurer, and legislator.
Bursting with authentic details.'--Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Chronicling Shiras's many achievements . . . and shedding light on his times, McCommons presents a full life with admirable economy.'--Library Journal
This biography of a pioneer of photography and a dedicated outdoorsman and conservationist is an important contribution, especially to the history of progressive conservation.'--National Parks Traveler
In addition to being a thorough biography, an entertaining travel guide, and a rich and detailed history of the early conservation movement, Camera Hunter will enthrall nature lovers, enlighten scholars, and fascinate photography hobbyists and professionals.'--'Foreword Reviews
James McCommons has written a comprehensive biography of George Shiras 3d and the times and circumstances in which he lived. . . . McCommons's book will bring Shiras his well-earned recognition and inspire a new generation of conservationists.'--James G. Sanderson, coauthor of Patterns in Nature: The Analysis of Species Co-Occurrences
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