Wilderness Voices: John Ratzloff

Wilderness Voices: Photographer John Ratzloff



“I would not even be who I am as a human or an artist without Quetico, the BWCA and the Queen’s Bush land in Ontario. I have paddled 25 straight years with the same friend. It is a place with a loneliness that attracts and calls to me. I don’t go there looking for God. But whatever God or meaning is, seems to find me. The place opens me up spiritually. Sigurd F. Olson’s book, “The Lonely Land” inspires my photography. Of course, that means taking the longest, toughest portages right from the git go. And a paddle partner who’s willing to carry more than his fair share so I can carry my heavy tripod and Hasselblad.”
– John Ratzloff

John_RatzloffPhotographer John Ratzloff says of his work: “Environmental and social justice activism continue to motivate my photography in Minnesota and Ontario.” He’s spent a lifetime in the Minnesota northwoods, including a long relationship with the White Earth Indian Reservation, serving as Artist in Residence at the Steger Wilderness Center, and sojourns to Ernest Oberhotzer’s Mallard Island on Rainy Lake. John recently exhibited portraits and landscapes called “Northtraits” and “Agents of Hope” in Ely, Minnesota.

His work documents a landscape of gnarled trees, powerful waterfalls, difficult portages — a wilderness that is intricate and yet lasting. Many of his photographs feature people as they experience the wilderness and reflect on it, calling attention to our stewardship of nature and to our place in time.

Sled Dogs at Voyageur Outward Bound School



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