Known around the world as one of Canada’s most acclaimed wildlife photographers, John Marriott is launching his new book, Tall Tales – Long Lenses in Salmon Arm.
John Marriott grew up here and is known within Canada and internationally as a premier Canadian wildlife photographer.
Marriott began photographing in the Canadian Rockies at the age of six, using a $20 Kodak Instamatic cameras. His talent and equipment have grown immensely since then, but he still has his early albums of bears, moose and more.
“Twenty years ago I sold my first photo to Canadian Geographic Journal,” he says. “I started big and thought the riches were going to pour in but they did not.”
In 1992, he was hired by Parks Canada in Banff National Park to go out and shoot roll after roll of photos of people, wildlife and scenics in the mountain environment — and from that, his career as an outdoor photographer was born.
In 2002 his business leapt forward with a line of 24 different wildlife and scenic greeting cards, which are featured on www.wildernessmoments.com. A revamped line of 18 new cards continues to be the best-selling greeting cards in the Canadian Rockies, with more than 140,000 cards sold since 2002.
Marriott released his first self-published coffee table book, Banff & Lake Louise: Images of Banff National Park, in 2007.
The book was received with critical acclaim and is a Canadian bestseller with more than 14,000 copies sold.
Another Canadian bestseller, Wildlife of the Canadian Rockies: A Glimpse at Life on the Wild Side is also a Canadian bestseller. Two more coffee table books, both titled The Canadian Rockies: Banff, Jasper & Beyond (large and small versions) were released in 2009.
Tall Tales – Long Lenses, chronicles the first 20 years of Marriott’s career capturing wildlife from pine martens, spirit bears, polar bears, grizzlies and wolves.
In the introduction to his new book, Marriott describes his early years and introduction to the world of wildlife photography.
Since early family trips to the Canadian Rockies, Marriott has been privileged to capture wildlife in B.C.’s rainforest, the high Arctic and the Prairies.
He is known most particularly for his amazing photos of bears and wolves.
Marriott says one of his career goals and aspirations has been to counter misconceptions about bears and wolves.
“He looks menacing and big but when you read the book, he has a very gentle side. He doesn’t care about humans but he’s big and mean with other bears,” says the photographer of the grizzly, who is known as Frank the Tank as he was slurping water from a lake. “We were able to get quite close; he had a trust in us and would allow us to come much closer than he would another bear.”
Marriott calls the feeling he gets from being so close to some of Canada’s most iconic wildlife a combination of an adrenalin rush and a thrill all wrapped into one.
“At the same time, it’s extraordinarily peaceful to hear the bear drinking water or chewing on grass,” Marriott says. “It’s almost like a meditation of sorts, sitting in a spectacular valley, mountains all around you.”
Frank the Tank lives in the Khutzeymateen, a grizzly bear sanctuary north of Prince Rupert – the only one of its kind in Canada.
There is no mining or hunting and only 400 people a year are allowed in to take photos. Photographers live on a 71-foot boat and travel in a Zodiac with a guide to get closer to their subject.
As well as building his own portfolio, Marriott takes small groups on workshop tours. Although he has yet to formally announce his 10 tours for 2018, Marriott says they are already almost sold out.
Most of his clients are between the ages of 50 and 60; people who love photography and have a disposable income, he says.
As well as his tours, Marriott has planned “a grand adventure” in April 2018. He and a small TV crew will travel to remote Bathurst Island in the high Arctic.
“We’re going to look for muskox and arctic wolves,” he says enthusiastically, noting there will be almost 24 hours of sunlight but average temperatures of -25 C. “The crazy part of it is snowmobiling eight hours to get to the island.”
The Shuswap Photo Arts Club is sponsoring the official launch of Tall Tales – Long Lenses at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 26 at the Fifth Avenue Seniors’ Activity Centre.
Marriott will be on hand to sign copies of his book.
A second presentation, which is also open to the public, will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov 27 at the Salmon Arm Secondary School theatre.