Footprints in the Last Wild Place
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Accompanying Outside‘s February investigation of the debate over the future of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (“Footprints in the Last Wild Place,” by Peter Matthiessen), are images by Subhankar Banerjee, a 35-year-old conservationist who spent the last two years documenting the wildlife and geographic beauty of the refuge to help rally opposition against proposed oil exploration and drilling. Banerjee, a native of Calcutta, India, abandoned a technical career with Boeing in Seattle to photograph wild places across the U.S. but wasn’t satisfied until he arrived on Alaska’s pristine North Slope. “I will never be the same person,” says Banerjee. “I came face to face with the wildest of wild animals and they tolerated my presence.”
Now back in the Lower 48, his goal is to travel the country non-stop to educate the public and elected official about the unique magnificence of ANWR, and the need to protect its vulnerable 1.5 million acres of coastal plain from development.
“Permanent wilderness designation for the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge is what I dream about,” he says.
Banerjee’s work will be published this March in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land (The Mountaineers Books) and showcased in a spring exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.
Subhankar Banerjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org