"But in every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks," John Muir once wrote. The conservationist and founder of the Sierra Club had a passion for the beauty of plants, and traveled far and wide to collect specimens, preserving them in his pockets. It was his love of these small tokens of nature that contributed greatly to his desire to preserve the wilderness.
Now, in a traveling exhibition, Muir's little-known passion for plants is being celebrated across North America. Nature's Beloved Son: Rediscovering John Muir's Botanical Legacy traces the botanist's travels throughout Canada, Indiana, the American Southeast, California, and Alaska. The exhibit showcases high-resolution images of his plant specimens on canvas and paper prints. The show, born out of a collaboration between photographer Stephen J. Joseph and Muir scholar Bonnie Gisel, highlights the complexity of the structure and patterns of plants, and includes pages and drawings from Muir's journals.
Nature's Beloved Son will travel to museums, botanical gardens, and parks, and will open on Jan. 9 at Bedford Gallery in Contra Costa County, California, where Muir lived on his family's ranch from 1890 until his death in 1914. The striking collection of botanicals emphasizes Muir's understanding of the need to protect our natural world, and should inspire visitors to do the same.