Biography

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.

His work is for sale on his website, tmurphywild.com as fine art photography. In addition, many of his images have been published in commercial and editorial applications, and is available as stock photography through this website.

Tom is featured in a PBS Nature film, “Christmas in Yellowstone” which has regularly aired worldwide. His photography is in private, public, and museum collections around the world.

He creates photographs which illustrate his passion for the remaining wild places on our earth. A talented naturalist and gifted lecturer, Tom has traveled the United States presenting the wonders of nature through his photographic slide shows.

He donated most of the photography in the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center and the Mammoth Visitor Center in Yellowstone Park for educational use by the National Park Service.

His photographs have been used, both editorially and commercially, in numerous regional, national, and international publications. Clients include: Life, Architectural Digest, National Geographic, Audubon, BBC, Professional Photographers of America, and Time. Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Esquire and others have sent him on assignments. He was Cameron Diaz’s guide in Yellowstone for an MTV project, and he photographed for Meredith Brokaw’s cookbook, Big Sky Cooking.

His first book, Silence and Solitude, Yellowstone’s Winter Wilderness, won a 2002 Montana Book Award. Tom’s video, Silence and Solitude, produced by Montana PBS, earned an Emmy nomination for his photography and videography. His set of books, called The Seasons of Yellowstone, include: The Light of Spring , The Comfort of Autumn, The Abundance of Summer, and The Spirit of Winter. Each book illustrates one of the four seasons of Yellowstone. Some of his other books include The Art of Yellowstone Science – Mammoth Hot Springs as a Window on the Universe and Birds, Masters of the Air, Land, and Water.

Tom serves on the National Advisory Council of Yellowstone Forever and the board of Park County Environmental Council. For 28 years he lent his backcountry skills to the Park County Search and Rescue team, which he helped to organize in 1982.

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