Heading up the mountains and into the highlands around Yellowstone National Park is where the elk spend their time in the spring and summer months and are eventually pushed down into the valleys by the snow and cold weather each fall.
The Greater Yellowstone migration project is headed up by Arthur Middleton who began the project with photographer Joe Riss after the pair were awarded the 2013 Camp Monaco Prize for their “Re-discovering the elk migrations of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem” project. As time went on, the team grew by adding artist James Prosek and filmmaker Jenny Nichols.
In addition to the arduous journey, what has impressed Middleton the most are the extreme hardships the animals face during their journey.
“They move through incredibly rugged terrain on these arduous journeys. Some of the passes in the high country these elk move through, even mules can’t get through it.” Middleton said at the exhibition opening.
The exhibition is centered on an interactive map of the major elk migrations in tandem with large-format photography, video and stunning original paintings all created by Middleton’s team throughout their field research.
“It’s a huge project. It really focuses on the primary work of a scientist, an artist, a photographer and a filmmaker. But there were more than 100 people to contribute to this exhibition over a period of about two years,” Exhibit senior curator Dr. Charles Preston told NBC Montana.
The exhibition is parked at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming for the remainder of the summer.
Watch the Elk River trailer below:
Image: Jenny Nichols/Vimeo