Lens on Wildlife

Photographers capture creatures in their habitats or modeling for the camera.

Wildlife is a major reason visitors flock to Jackson Hole.

Thanks to talented photographers, many of them can take home a perfectly focused piece of moose magic or elk enchantment.

The genre of wildlife photography is well represented on the Jackson art scene.

Tom Mangelsen owns a gallery that shows his work exclusively. His love for animals started at a young age, but he didn’t discover his bent for photography until college.

“The camera was a means for me to capture my passion and love for wildlife,” Mangelsen said. “It wasn’t a matter of trying to be a photographer. It was a tool for capturing what I loved.”

Since the 1970s, which was when he first picked up a camera, Mangelsen has traveled to several exotic locations to witness animals, big and small, in their habitats.

Mangelsen’s photo Butterfly Kisses was taken in the Brazil Pantanal, one of the wildest places he has visited. The photograph shows a caiman waiting for food to cross its path. Dancing on the eyelids of the crocodile’s relative are butterflies. The insects are drinking its salty tears.

“It’s a nice contrast of beauty and the beast,” Mangelsen said.
While Mangelsen likes traveling to places in South America and other remote regions of the world, he also enjoys taking photos of Jackson Hole’s wild creatures. Grizzly bears are among his favorite animals to learn from and watch.

“Their level of intelligence, emotional attachments to cubs and ability to survive makes me feel quite attached to them,” Mangelsen said.

The photographer’s bear pictures and other wildlife images can be found at the Mangelsen Images of Nature Gallery.

Henry Holdsworth also has his own show space, Wild by Nature Gallery. Holdsworth says Jackson is the perfect place for him to practice his art.

“It’s a wonderful backyard to have,” he said. “It’s amazing to have grizzly bears and wolves right out your back door.”

Holdsworth focuses his lens on animals to show their daily habits and routines.

“I guess my style is to capture wildlife in its day-to-day life,” he said. “I hope to catch those intimate moments or vast scenes with animals in them.”

One intimate moment Holdsworth caught was of a bison blanketed in snow. There had been a blizzard the night before he photographed the bison. Holdsworth said he wasn’t aware the creature was near him until he saw the shell of snow on its coat crack.

“We had a good little staring contest for about 10 minutes,” he said.
Taylor Glenn takes portrait-style pictures of furry and feathered creatures for his Yellowstone Natives project.

Glenn doesn’t consider himself to be a wildlife photographer, because the birds and other critters he snaps photos of no longer dwell in the wild. They live in captivity.

Before Glenn takes images of a subject matter that represents the wildlife of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, he makes sure the animal is from an organization with a cause.

“I try to find groups that work with the animals in a positive way, whether it’s for education or rehab purposes,” Glenn said.

The artist has worked with animals from the Teton Raptor Center in Wilson and the Earthfire Institute in Driggs, Idaho.

Prints of Glenn’s Yellowstone Natives project can be viewed at WRJ Design in Jackson.

“I hope the project gives people the opportunity to view the animals in a different way and engage with them in a different way,” he said.

Nine Francois is another artist who snaps pictures of animals out of their wildlife settings. Francois doesn’t live in Jackson, but some people feel her photography is important to the Jackson art scene.

Her up-close images of owls, zebras, bears, wolves and other beings can be found at Rare Gallery.