(COLORADO SPRINGS) — John Fielder, a renowned Colorado nature photographer, passed away after a valiant battle with cancer. Local photographers are now reflecting on his profound impact on both the world of photography and the preservation of natural landscapes.
“He captured it to a point where anybody who hasn’t been to a place will feel like they’ve been there,” said James Egbert, a photographer and former colleague of Fielder’s.
After an illustrious career that spanned five decades, Fielder passed away on Friday, Aug. 11 at the age of 73. Through hundreds of thousands of photos, and over 40 published books, he pioneered a visual narrative of Colorado’s terrain that resonated deeply with both aspiring and seasoned photographers alike.
“I’ve got lots of books from other photographers like William Neal, Tim Fitzharris, and people like that, but he definitely dominates more space on the bookshelf. I was inspired by his work, pretty much since I got started in photography over 40 years ago,” said John Vinson, a photographer who has worked at Cameraworks, his Colorado Springs-based small business, for over 30 years.
Fielder was recognized as a true master of his craft: “He was the king of landscape photography in Colorado,” said Todd Caudle, a former acquaintance of Fielder, and the owner of a local photography publishing company Skyline Press.
Fielder’s influence extended well beyond his artistry. The impact he made on the conservation landscape was profound, as he dedicated himself to safeguarding the very landscapes he captured.
Caudle said Fielder’s work was instrumental in expanding the 1964 Wilderness Act, a landmark event that brought protection to significant portions of Colorado’s lands. Through his photos, Fielder was able to show and persuade lawmakers to protect the sanctity of Colorado’s nature.
Governor Jared Polis, deeply moved by Fielder’s demise, conveyed his condolences, in a statement:
“I am saddened by the loss of John Fielder, who captured Colorado’s iconic beauty during his 50 years as a nature photographer. His unique talent and work allowed him to showcase our state to millions across the world and he will be dearly missed. My condolences to his family and friends. I hope that we can all follow his example to appreciate and preserve our outdoor lands.”Gov. Jared Polis
Fielder said on his website that he donated some 7,500 photos to History Colorado, which is available for the public to gaze at and admire on the website.
His final exhibition is called, ‘REVEALED: John Fielder’s Favorite Place.’