A! Magazine for the Arts

Benjamin Walls on location at the Grand Canyon.

Benjamin Walls on location at the Grand Canyon.

Ben Walls photographs on exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution

August 27, 2014

Bristol native and fine art photographer Benjamin Walls sends two more works for display at the Smithsonian Institution. His work has been selected for a September exhibit entitled "Wilderness Forever: 50 Years of Protecting America's Wild Places." With this honor, Walls becomes the first fine art photographer to have images selected for international juried exhibits in all four of the cornerstone categories of his field: abstract, landscape, wildlife and black & white imagery. Thus far, Walls' work has been featured in more than 50 museums in 12 countries.

Walls' images "Frontier" and "Stand" were chosen by the Smithsonian from 5,500 international entries. They are part of a 60-image exhibit honoring the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. This act, signed by President Lyndon Johnson on Sept. 3, 1964, defines wilderness as "an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain" and where "the imprint of man's work is substantially unnoticeable."

In "Frontier," a panoramic shot taken in Maine, Walls captured an interaction between three moose. Behind them, Mount Katahdin glows with the colors of autumn. "Stand," a more intimately-scaled image, evokes the peacefulness of a wilderness forest. A black and white image taken in the Maroon Bells Wilderness Area, "Stand" focuses on a lone fir tree in a grove of Aspens. The Wilderness Forever Exhibit opens on the second floor of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Sept. 3 and is on display for six months.

Walls' work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution twice before. In 2007, a panel of judges selected Walls' "Watching the Sunrise" for display. Taken in Africa, it is a silhouette of native birds in an acacia tree. Another image, "The Twelve," became part of the flagship exhibit for The Oceans hall at the Smithsonian in 2008. It shows a rock formation on the Australian coast.

Along with inclusion in national galleries and museums, Walls' work has also garnered international accolades. In 2006, Walls' "Elements," an abstract image taken at the edge of a thermal pool in Yellowstone National Park, was featured at the Natural History Museum of London. In 2009, the image became part of a five-year international touring exhibit called "Wild Planet," comprised of "a selection of the best images from 15 years of exhibits at the Natural History Museum of London." "Elements" returned to the Natural History Museum of London on tour with Wild Planet as part of London's Summer Olympic Celebration in 2012.