2011 Mountainfilm in Telluride: Paul Colangelo photographer

2011 Mountainfilm in Telluride: Paul Colangelo photographer

[click “Play” to listen to Paul Colangelo’s conversation with Susan]


Moose, water, sky Each year, Mountainfilm in Telluride hands out a Commitment Grant. The award is designed to help creative individuals tell important stories in keeping with the spirit of the event: they are about “Celebrating Indomitable Spirits,” the theme of Mountainfilm, and turning Awareness into Action, the motto for 2011 and a running subtext of the event.

Mountainfilm’s Commitment Grant goes to filmmakers, artists, adventurers and photographers whose projects are designed to have a positive and tangible effect on vital issues concerning people, places and ideas under siege some place on the map. Photographer Paul Colangelo received one of five $5,000 grants handed out last year.

The grant was for Paul’s photographic exposition entitled “Sacred Headwaters, Sacred Journey” about the shared birthplace of three of British Columbia’s great salmon-bearing rivers, the Stikine, Skeena and Nass.

Headwaters The Stikine Valley is sacred to the First Nations people, the Tahltan. The region encompasses one of the largest predator-prey ecosystems in North America. Rich in wildlife –  caribou, stone sheep, moose, mountain goats, grizzlies and wolves – and mountain majesty, the Sacred Headwaters, about 200 miles south of Watson Lake, Yukon, and 150 miles east of Juneau, Alaska, is also – and here’s the good news and the bad news – rich in energy and minerals. The Stikine is now threatened by energy development.

Paul’s project is especially near and dear to another, regular Mountainfilm guest, scientist, scholar, poet and eco-activist Wade Davis. Wade’s book on the subject of the Sacred Headwaters is due out this fall.

Mountain goats Like Wade Davis, Paul Colangelo is a native of British Columbia. As a photographer, he specializes in wildlife, environmental challenges and the way we view our world through the twin lenses of science and culture. His work has garnered high praise in high places: BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year; Smithsonian; International Photography Awards; Photolife; North American Nature Photography Association; and Mountainfilm in Telluride. Paul was also the recipient of the 2010 Philip Hyde Grant for $5,000 for his documentary project on the Sacred Headwaters, a peer-reviewed grant awarded annually to an individual member of the North American nature Photography Association actively pursuing completion of an environmental project. Recently Paul joined the International League of Conservation Photographers, global eco-crusaders.

Horseman Paul received his first camera as a graduation present after completing a business degree at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario. Within a year of taking his first picture, Paul left his job and moved across the country to pursue a career as a photojournalist. After completing a photography diploma at Langara College in Vancouver, he moved to Santa Cruz, CA, to work for National Geographic photographer, Frans Lanting.

For a post and an interview with Wade Davis on Sacred Headwaters and more, follow this link. To learn more about the man and his work, click the “play” button and listen to my interview with Paul Colangelo.

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