About Sam Parks Stock



Biography

Sam Parks is a professional wildlife and nature photographer specializing in the native wildlife of the American West. Sam's goal is to provide an honest, unfiltered depiction of the wildlife, both their struggles and their triumphs and what they go through everyday to survive and reproduce in the wild. Through images, he hopes to tell their stories, uncensored, with an emphasis on how they interact with each other and how they interact with the land.


Sam spends over 250 days a year in the field, traveling the West's great wild places in search of those magical wildlife moments. From cross country skiing through brutal winter temperatures in the northern Rockies to scorching summer hikes in the Southwest, there is no length he will not go to in his endless quest to find new and powerful wildlife scenes. Rain, snow, or shine, Sam can be found out in the West's hidden reaches, searching, waiting, and hoping for that perfect image.

Sam has had a burning passion for  wildlife and nature since he could walk. A lifelong Wyomingite, it was always the wildlife and the wild lands of the West that filled his childhood dreams with magic. Sam spent his youth in the outdoors; hiking, fishing, camping, and watching the tremendous array of animal life that makes the West so special. It was only a natural progression that he began to pick up a camera to capture the wild animals he so loved in photographs. In the decade plus since, he has worked to learn everything he could about wildlife, the land, and the art of photography. A student at heart, Sam's never ending desire to learn and improve has shown in his photography.

Sam's work has been published both nationally and internationally in numerous books, calendars, and publications, such as Defenders, Sierra, Wild at Heart, Colorado Outdoors, and Wyoming Wildlife. Other clients have included the National Audubon Society, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Pathfinder Renewable Energy, the Sweetwater River Conservancy, and the Wyoming Office of Tourism. In 2014, Sam was awarded the Grand Prize of the prestigious Defenders of Wildlife photography competition.

Sam currently resides in Laramie, Wyoming, a small city nestled between the Laramie Range to the east, and the Snowy Range, to the west. On the rare occasion that he's not photograhing, Sam can most likely be found out in the woods somewhere, hiking, camping, fishing, or generally enjoying the wilderness.


Artist Statement
by Sam Parks

My photography should be understood in the context of my life experience. Since childhood, the wildlife and wild lands of the American West have always been my deepest passion, my driving force. I was not somebody who was interested in photography and decided that wildlife photography might be fun. Rather, I was somebody who was profoundly fascinated by wildlife and decided to pick up a camera. It is not photography that drew me to wildlife, but wildlife that drew me to photography. This background formed the foundation of my view of wildlife photography and encapsulates the essence of what I try to convey in my images.

Wildlife photography, in my view, is 90% about wildlife and 10% about photography. The most talented technical photographer in the world couldn't make compelling wildlife images without an understanding of basic wildlife biology and the knowledge required to find your subjects in the first place. With this in mind, I am constantly trying to improve my skills as a naturalist and ecologist. I have an insatiable desire to learn and will forever consider myself a student of the natural word. Even after thousands of days in the field, I am constantly learning new things as Mother Nature reveals some intricacy that I missed before. My approach to wildlife photography is to spend inordinate amounts of time in the field; searching, sitting, observing, learning. My greatest fascination is trying to understand the ecosystem as a whole; how the many pieces of this complex web of life interacts and works together.

I firmly believe that an ecosystem is not just a composition of numerous individual lives and species, but a living entity itself; an interconnected and interdependent web of life. Understanding this, I tend to take a holistic approach to wildlife photography. I strive to show in my photography not simply portraits of individual animals but dynamic scenes that tell a story -  how the wildlife interacts with each other, with other species, and with the land itself. I want to provide an honest depiction of the wildlife, both their struggles and triumphs, their lives and sometimes their deaths. To tell their real life stories as individuals while never losing sight of the fact that they are part of something bigger.

The fundamental goal of my photography is for the viewer to come away with a greater respect and appreciation for the wildlife, their toughness and what they go through everyday to survive in the wild, and inspire them to care for our wild friends and want to protect them and the land they depend on.


Statement of Ethics
by Sam Parks

At the heart of my photography is a profound respect for the wildlife I photograph. I am dedicated to the well-being of my subjects and adhere wholeheartedly to the credo that no photograph is worth jeopardizing the welfare of the animals I photograph. I always hold myself to a high ethical standard and am eager to set a good example for others. I always do everything in my power to maintain a respectful distance and if at any point I feel that my presence is disturbing an animal’s natural behavior, I will leave the area immediately. My goal for each of my images is to show a moment in nature that happened on its own, without manipulation. With that in mind, I do not bait wildlife or use any other attractants like calls and none of my images show scenes that have been staged or otherwise manipulated in any way. Needless to say, all of my images are of totally wild, free-roaming wildlife, not "game farm" or otherwise captive animals. Not only do I follow these principles myself, I am also outspoken in advocating for ethical practices within wildlife photographer circles.

The preservation of our remaining wilderness areas and wildlife is my foremost concern. With this in mind, I regard it as a moral responsibility to use my images for the greater good and contribute, in some small way, to ensuring that our nations remaining vestiges of wildness are preserved forever. I firmly believe that inspiring people to care about nature and motivating them to act and advocate on its behalf is crucial and that the photograph can be a powerful tool to that end. Through my images, I hope to inspire people to care about our country's stunning wildlife and wild landscapes. In addition to this, I am deeply involved in my own wildlife advocacy and support numerous non-profit conservation groups with free use of my images.