Landscapes for the People
George Alexander Grant, First Chief Photographer of the National Park Service

Ren and Helen Davis
Foreword by Timothy Davis

Rediscovering a master of photography who documented our nation’s natural treasures


"When we think of photographers of the national parks, Ansel Adams will likely be the first to come to mind. . . . Yet for sheer output, no one is likely to surpass a contemporary of Adams named George Alexander Grant. . . . Though his work may be more utilitarian than that of Adams, Grant was a skilled craftsman, composing his images with care and setting his exposures to achieve the crystalline focus and bottomless depth of field that he (like Adams) favored. . . . The photos that have come down to us are valued not just for their aesthetic merit but for their historical content."
—Gerard Helferich, Wall Street Journal

“The national park idea owes a tremendous debt to the photographers who captured the beauty of America’s most special places, ultimately inspiring people to push for their protection. William Henry Jackson, Carleton Watkins, and Ansel Adams are the best known, but now Ren and Helen Davis finally give George Grant the attention he so richly deserves. Millions of people have seen his work without knowing his name or his story. The centennial of the National Park Service serves as good reason to rectify that.”
—Dayton Duncan, producer of The National Parks: America’s Best Idea

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George Alexander Grant is an unknown elder in the field of American landscape photography. Just as they did the work of his contemporaries Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Eliot Porter, and others, millions of people viewed Grant’s photographs; unlike those contemporaries, few even knew Grant’s name. Landscapes for the People shares his story through his remarkable images and a compelling biography profiling patience, perseverance, dedication, and an unsurpassed love of the natural and historic places that Americans chose to preserve.

A Pennsylvania native, Grant was introduced to the parks during the summer of 1922 and resolved to make parks work and photography his life. Seven years later, he received his dream job and spent the next quarter century visiting the four corners of the country to produce images in more than one hundred national parks, monuments, historic sites, battlefields, and other locations. He was there to visually document the dramatic expansion of the National Park Service during the New Deal, including the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Grant’s images are the work of a master craftsman. His practiced eye for composition and exposure and his patience to capture subjects in their finest light are comparable to those of his more widely known contemporaries. Nearly fifty years after his death, and in concert with the 2016 centennial of the National Park Service, it is fitting that George Grant’s photography be introduced to a new generation of Americans.

A Friends Fund Publication

Page count: 280
207 duotones
Trim size: 10 x 9


List price: $39.95

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Ren Davis’s travel writing and photography have appeared in such places as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia Magazine, and Atlanta Magazine.

Helen Davis taught for nearly thirty years in public and private schools. The Davises are coauthors of several books including Georgia Walks and Atlanta Walks. They live in Atlanta.