During the past 25 years, Phil Schermeister completed more than 40 major assignments for the National Geographic Book Division, National Geographic Magazine and other National Geographic publications. He has photographed on assignment more than 40 National Parks around the United States in the past three years and has had six single-photographer books published by National Geographic including “Range of Light,” “Our National Parks” and “America's Western Edge.” Some of his other assignments have included coverage of Quechua Indians in the Andes of Peru, Tarahumara Indians in Mexico’s Copper Canyon and Native Americans across the Western United States.
Phil Schermeister grew up on the Great Plains where the simplicity of the landscape and the directness of the people still influence his work. His early career as a newspaper photojournalist taught him the value of meeting deadlines and the importance of the “decisive moment” to tell a story in pictures. A National Geographic assignment in the Flint Hills of Kansas kindled his interest in nature photography.
In the years since that first assignment, he has photographed all types of natural landscapes from National Parks, Seashores, and Recreation Areas to Wild and Scenic Rivers and National Wildlife Refuges for the National Geographic Society’s publications. In his search for “decisive moments” in nature, Schermeister seeks to find drama in the changing light and seasons as the forces of nature continue to sculpt an unfinished natural landscape.
For the past six years with his “Personal Visions” project Schermeister has been taking a fresh look at some of our most revered and iconic landscapes: National Parks. By working beyond the traditional boundaries of “classic” nature photography, he has been able to explore a world of colors, shapes and textures that renders subjects recognizable yet distinctly different; a world where feelings are more important than facts. Some of these images are moments that exist on the periphery of our vision, seen for a split second before they disappear. By imagining these familiar scenes through a slightly different lens, Schermeister has been able to create images that abide in our mind's eye but may not be visible in a view finder.