Tom Murphy was raised on a 7500 acre cattle ranch in western South Dakota. This experience taught him more than he wanted to know about cattle and convinced him that he didn’t want to chase cows for the rest of his life. It also provided him with invaluable lessons in animal behavior and a deep love for clean, wide open land.
He graduated with honors from Montana State University in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Anthropology. He spent years combining photography with archeological field work, locating, recording, and testing historic and prehistoric sites on the Northwest Plains.
His interest in photography began in 1972. In 1978 he established a professional career in photography when he moved to Livingston, Montana. His photographic passion and specialty is Yellowstone National Park. Since 1975 he has traveled extensively within its 3400 square miles, hiking and skiing thousands of miles on extended overnight trips in the backcountry. He has skied across the park three times. The first was in 1985 on a 14 day, 175 mile, solo trip. Two things motivate him to travel carrying a heavy backpack, a desire to see Yellowstone’s wilderness backcountry, and to understand and photograph the behaviors of free roaming wildlife and the colors, shapes, and textures of the land.
Through Wilderness Photography Expeditions, he built an internationally respected photography seminar series teaching natural history photography primarily in Yellowstone Park. Tom was the first person licensed to lead photography tours in Yellowstone Park. One of the reasons he started his business was to give something back to wildlife and wild lands and to encourage and aid in their preservation. He donates the use of his photography to environmental groups, to support their efforts.