Barbara Yoshida (Artist-in-Residence, 1999)

A photograph shows a close up scene on a rock
"Struggling Birch", 20" x 16" chromogenic print on Fuji Crystal archive paper, 1999

NPS/Barbara Yoshida

Isle Royale Reflection

"My time at Isle Royale reminded this “city slicker” of the country girl she used to be. How can anyone see all that beauty, surrounded by nature that’s completely untouched, and not have it change them in some way? I remember one sunset over Tobin Harbor: the sky above was light blue with darker clouds, and just above the tree line on the far shore it was ablaze with a vibrant, dusty rose, infused with light orange. At 1:00 a.m. I went out to look at the sky—the gorgeous dark dome of the heavens, with stars visible in all directions. I didn’t know when I had last seen it like that, without the moon’s light and with no ambient light from cities to interfere. One planet was so bright that there was a path of light on the surface of the water under it.

I saw soooo many animals, birds, and plants during my stay—a bald eagle, common Loons, two kinds of woodpecker, American black ducks, a snowshoe hare, Canada geese, a great blue heron, double-crested cormorants, common mergansers, and I learned to recognize the distinctive call of the white-throated sparrow. One afternoon, I was sitting outside, when suddenly a red fox trotted up and poked its face around a bush, within three feet of me; our eyes met, and it turned and loped away, along the side of the cabin. How could anyone fail to be affected by that?"

Barbara Yoshida portrait

About the Artist

Barbara Yoshida is an American visual artist, living in New York City. She started using a camera for her artistic expression after more than twenty years as a painter and six years making sculpture. Camping with her family in the woods of northern Idaho was an early influence and her interest in the natural world has remained. An adventurous traveler, she fills her backpack with tent, sleeping bag, large format camera, film, and tripod, then sets out to capture natural forms and spiritual locations throughout Europe, Mexico, Africa, the Middle East, Japan, and Mongolia.

For the past several years, Yoshida has looked for opportunities that put her directly in touch with her audience through teaching, panel discussions, public talks, and artist residencies, including six for the National Park Service, two at The MacDowell Colony, and one at Ucross Foundation, Blacklock Nature Sanctuary, and The Atlantic Center for the Arts. Her Isle Royale residency was from July 23rd to August 14th, 1999. She has used various processes to make her images—silver gelatin prints, custom color prints, photogravures (for which she made the copper plates and printed them on the etching press), pigment inkjet prints, and Van Dyke Brown prints.

Yoshida’s residencies for the NPS have allowed her to continue a body of work documenting her involvement with nature, the National Park Service, and the community that supports the NPS—from environmentalists to everyday citizens who share a feeling of connectedness to nature and an ethical responsibility for its welfare. Becoming sensitized to changes in weather and light in order to capture their effect on the outdoor environment is extremely challenging. And for Yoshida, the preservation of nature with a camera is inextricably linked to the preservation of various species and their habitats—the medium fits the message. She believes that a healthy and diverse biota is crucial for our emotional and psychological wellbeing.

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Last updated: December 26, 2019

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