Signature Artist of the Month

February 2016

Adventure and lifestyle photographer
Forest Woodward

Through his photography, Forest Woodward takes you alongside him as he explores the most beautiful landscapes across the globe. He melds his love of nature and adventure to create breathtaking, dynamic and thought-provoking images. Come along as we learn more about the journey of our February Signature Artist of the Month.


Some people inherit family heirlooms, but Forest Woodward’s family passed along something that has become even more important to him: an appreciation for nature.

“My family has an intrinsic connection to nature. Growing up in North Carolina, I spent my time exploring, camping, hiking and canoeing,” he said. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how important being in nature is for my happiness, for my soul and also for my creative process. Nature’s inspiring to me.”

As an adult, the iStock by Getty Images photographer and videographer still considers nature his playground. He travels the world exploring places like Patagonia, Montana and South Africa, capturing their spectacular, rugged terrains.

“I draw a lot of inspiration from big landscapes, especially the American West. The more remote and wild, the better,” Forest said. “When you get a taste of wild places you get a craving to keep pursuing the unbeaten path.”

Before he became a professional photographer, Forest attended Montana's Rocky Mountain School of Photography, which was founded by a pupil of Ansel Adams, one of Forest’s greatest inspirations.

Like Adams, Forest initially was drawn to the traditional black-and-white landscape aesthetic. But as he evolved as an artist, he began to recognize the value of including people in his photos.

“People now play a big role in how I interpret and understand a landscape," he said. "I’m really interested in how people relate to nature. I always keep the traditional landscape aesthetic at the root of my work, but I also try to tell the stories of the people who have connections to the locations I’m photographing.”

In his award-winning film, The Important Places, Forest explores this idea of demonstrating the power and beauty of nature through the lens of a person’s relationship to a particular region. In this case, it’s his father’s strong bond to the Colorado River.

“Important places are inherited; we pass them on to the ones we love. The Colorado River is a place that is very important to me through what my father’s passed down.” he said. “Often times, a place is important because of the people you spend your time with there.”

As he continues to travel the world, adding to his list of important places, Forest remains amazed and inspired by the people and landscapes he encounters.

“It’s amazing to be in a line of work where I’m constantly challenged by environments and exposed to the beauty of all these different places,” Forest said. “I love being reminded about the diversity of the world and how we’re all connected at a basic human level."



A free image, for you

Each month we give away a free image from our Signature Artist of the Month. Download yours now and start creating your own inspiring project.

I took this photograph in Butte, Montana, a fascinating old mining town.

During the copper boom, Butte was the most populous city west of the Mississippi.

While I’m often drawn to photographing the natural landscape in its most pristine form, I’m also interested in places like Butte where human industry has left a definite mark on the land.

This image is an homage to the pioneering and rugged spirit of the West, but I hope it carries a subtle message of caution as well. To me, places like Butte are haunting reminders that the choices we make in the name of industry and the extraction of natural resources have lasting effects. Today, Butte is on the verge of becoming a ghost town, and is one of the most toxic superfund sites in America.

"Photography is my front row ticket to the world. I try to take advantage of that and expose myself to as many places as possible."

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