John E. Marriott is a great photographer. It takes about three clicks of a mouse on his website to see that. But when laid out in a hardcover book and accompanied by journal entries penned in a cabin, John becomes a great Canadian storyteller.
His latest book, Tall Tales Long Lenses, is a breathtaking look at not just Canadian wildlife, but at the storied life John has led. Following a touching forward from hockey icon Kelly Hrudey, John’s tale begins with the writing of Tall Tales Long Lenses in a former trapper’s cabin, cut off from the outside world. You can almost smell the wood stove and the dust floating off the “Year of the Sasquatch” magazine found on a shelf.
Wildlife stories and encounters date back to the 70s, in John’s youth, growing up in Salmon Arm, BC, exploring and fishing with his father and brother, and experimenting with his first camera, a Kodak Instamatic. It’s a heartwarming, classically Canadian story. But his love of wildlife, and the consequences of human activity, crashed into John’s life in the early 90s.
While visiting Banff National Park with friends, John “met” Field, a blonde grizzly. Due to conflict, she was killed not long after their meeting.
“She had been my very first grizzly, and now she was dead — the victim of sloppy, irresponsible campers,” John writes. “The incident left me shaken and angry, and it forever shattered my ideological views of Banff National Park as a protected sanctuary for wildlife.”
This sad tale paints a pivotal moment in John’s life, the one that led him to becoming well known for ethical photography, his EXPOSED web series, and desire to work with conservation and wildlife groups like The Fur-Bearers. It is an intimate part of the story, and one that is deeply moving.
Throughout the 224 pages of the book, John expertly tells stories of happy moments with silly foxes, encounters with a wolverine, and his desire to track down and photograph the great big grizzly (or potential sasquatch) from his childhood.
Tall Tales Long Lenses isn’t just a book, it’s an experience. The adventures of John’s life, and the truly stunning photos that help tell the stories, are Canadiana at its finest, and a gift any animal lover would cherish.
Tall Tales Long Lenses is available to order from John’s website at WildernessPrints.com in hardcover and special edition formats.