Stephen Kirkpatrick has been chased by grizzly bears, attacked by alligators, and nibbled by piranha, and in the process, he’s captured some of the world’s most exciting wildlife and nature photography. Kirkpatrick’s photographic career has taken him from the treetops of the Amazon to the frozen Alaskan tundra, from the deserts of the Middle East to the depths of the Pacific Ocean, all in search of the next breathtaking shot.
Kirkpatrick was born with a passion for the outdoors. He went camping with his father in the Alaskan wilderness as a toddler, and learned to hunt before he was seven years old. His childhood pets included a “rescued” largemouth bass, a house-trained nutria, and a flock of semi-tamed mallards (Kirkpatrick hatched them from eggs) that took flight at sunrise, but returned to his backyard every day at sunset. At a time when most 12-year-old boys were working a paper route, Kirkpatrick was operating a snake farm (admission 25 cents). By the time he was 14, he was working as a duck hunting guide.
“I had my own camp in the marsh and my own boat to get my clients there,” Kirkpatrick recalls. “I provided turnkey service. I could find the ducks, clean the ducks, even cook the ducks. The one thing I couldn’t do was drive to the boat landing because I was too young to have a license. My mother helped by shuttling all these grown men hunting under my guidance to the landing.”
A longing to capture the beautiful outdoor scenes that touched his heart prompted Kirkpatrick to try his hand at painting.
“I painted on canvas, paper, murals on walls, and even painted a complete outdoor scene featuring wood ducks on my bedroom door, but I was always disappointed in the result. It never looked ‘real’ enough to satisfy me. Even all those years ago, I had a fear that all this beauty would disappear. I desperately wanted to preserve those places that had touched my heart and had come to feel like my purpose.”
In May of 1981, Kirkpatrick’s father gave him his first camera, and everything fell into place.
“That Nikon FE fit into my hand as if it were always meant to be there. My love of nature was in my DNA, and now I had a way to express it. Wildlife and nature photography isn’t a career I chose, it’s the career that chose me.”
Since then, Kirkpatrick has published more than 4,000 photographs in books and magazines, including Ducks Unlimited, Delta Sky, Skin Diver, Audubon, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Natural History, Outdoor Photographer, BBC Wildlife, National Wildlife, and Sports Afield. He has published 11 pictorial coffee table books, including Romancing the Rain, A Photographic Journey into the Heart of the Amazon, shot over nine years in the jungles of Peru; Wilder Mississippi, a look at his home state’s scenery and wildlife; and In Wilderness Song, a photographic study of the common loon and the Canadian wilderness.
Kirkpatrick’s work has earned international recognition. His books have captured the National Outdoor Book Award, the Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book Award, and three Southeastern Outdoor Press Association Book of the Year Awards. Kirkpatrick has twice been named a winner in the prestigious International Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition held in London, England.
Kirkpatrick is in demand as a featured speaker for national conferences and conventions. He has appeared on numerous television shows and his work is exhibited in galleries and museums nationwide.
Stephen Kirkpatrick is available for assignments, including magazine, book, and advertising shoots, as well as private project assignments for land and lodge owners and real estate developers. For more information, call (601) 940-8301 or visit KirkpatrickWildlife.com.