New Book Celebrates California’s Wildflowers, Warns of Super Bloom Peril

Join conservation photographers Rob Badger and Nita Winter for the book’s launch party on Sunday, Jan. 26 at Seager Gray Gallery in Mill Valley from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 23, 2020 Sacramento –WinterBadger Press and the California Native Plant Society announced today the release of their new book, “Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change.” The coffee table book features the field photography of Rob Badger and Nita Winter alongside 16 essays by nature writers, scientists and environmental leaders, including Jose Gonzales of Latino Outdoors, Robin Wall Kimmerer (“Braiding Sweet Grass”), Mary Ellen Hannibal (“Citizen Science”), and Peter L. Raven, one of the world’s leading botanists.

“Most people don’t know that wildflowers are especially vulnerable to climate change, so we decided to give them a voice, tell their story and celebrate them,” says Nita Winter.

Large portions of California comprise one of the world’s 36 biodiversity hotspots, according to Conservation International, due largely to the state’s native plant biodiversity and high threat levels. The state’s wildflowers attract tourists from around the world to destinations like the Carrizo Plain National Monument, Mojave Desert and Antelope Valley. But as our climate changes and development pressure increases, wildflowers face new and increasing threats. In the Mojave Desert, the Trump Administration is pushing to expand geothermal energy development into areas currently protected under the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan. In northern Los Angeles County, thousands of acres of wildflower fields and native grasslands are slated to become the new Centennial housing development on Tejon Ranch.

“The world is marveling at our super blooms just as real-time circumstances threaten to destroy them,” CNPS Executive Director Dan Gluesenkamp said. “We need to stand up for the beauty these uniquely Californian species bring to each of our lives.”

The project’s collaborators hope its striking imagery will reach people in ways standard conservation messaging may not. The 12 x 12” 264-page book features 190 wildflower portrait and landscape images. Badger and Winter created every one of the photographs in the field, lugging 80 pounds of cameras and their “natural light” studio equipment from below sea level in Death Valley National Park to 13,000-foot-high mountain passes. Using black or white backgrounds they carefully photographed living flowers, creating images that look like they were made in a studio setting.

Also featured are Rob’s groundbreaking floral portrait techniques that go beyond any traditional approach: In the “Contact” series, the luminous flower petals actually touch the lens; in the “Wrapped” series, flowers are enfolded in black or white fabric to complement their geometric forms.

Giant red paintbrush by Rob Badger and Nita Winter.
Wrapped series iris blossom by Rob Badger and Nita Winter.

 

The contributing essayists represent more than a dozen organizations, government agencies and universities. One essay, “You, the Changemaker,” offers 25 simple actions readers can take to make a difference.

Contributing Beauty and the Beast Essayists

“We know that many people may feel overwhelmed and powerless by all the climate change news,” Badger said. “But we believe by taking action and working together, we all can make a difference and minimize the loss of many wonderful species.”

The new book is a companion to the couple’s large-format traveling photography exhibit, seen by more than 44,000 people to date at venues including the California Museum in Sacramento, the Bay Model Center in Sausalito, the Fullerton Arboretum and the California State University Chico Gallery.

Winter and Badger will be celebrating their launch and signing books for the public this Sunday, Jan. 26 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Seager Gray Gallery in Mill Valley. To learn more about the book and order copies, go to cnps.org/beauty.


About the California Native Plant Society

About WinterBadger Press
WinterBadger Press was created by internationally acclaimed, award-winning photographers Rob Badger and Nita Winter who have been life partners and creative collaborators for more than three decades. In 2016, Rob and Nita created their first joint exhibit, the original Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change, for the San Francisco Public Library’s Jewett Gallery. This series of images chronicle their 27-year journey documenting California’s diverse flora.

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