About Subhankar Banerjee
(From World Without Borders)
Raging blizzards and a wind-chill factor of minus 100 degrees F didn’t deter Subhankar Banerjee from exploring the stark wilderness of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge during the winter. His two-year photographic journey in the refuge, in remote northeastern Alaska, encompassed 4,000 miles undertaken by foot, raft, kayak, and snowmobile in all four seasons, accompanied by his friend and Inupiat guide, Robert Thompson. When not exploring the wild vastness of the refuge, Banerjee lived with native Gwich’in Athabascan and Inupiat families, where he learned their way of life and came to understand their relationship to the land and the wild animals that live there. His experience resulted in a deep love for this landscape he found pulsing with life, even in the middle of the long, frigid winter.
Subhankar Banerjee’s photographic career stemmed from his childhood passion for painting, coupled with a deep love and concern for the wilderness and disappearing indigenous cultures. Born in India in 1967, Banerjee received his bachelor’s degree in engineering before moving to the United States, where he obtained master’s degrees in physics and computer science. Before starting his career in photography, Banerjee worked in the scientific fields for six years, with Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico and Boeing in Seattle.
His first professional photographic project culminated in a book, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land, published by The Mountaineers Books (Seattle, 2003). In Seasons of Life and Land, eminent writers, conservationists, and biologists tell the story of America’s last great wilderness. The inspiring writings of Jimmy Carter, Peter Matthiessen, George Schaller, David Allen Sibley, Terry Tempest Williams, Debbie Miller, Bill Meadows, and Fran Mauer complement Banerjee’s images.
Solo exhibits of Banerjee’s photographs from “Seasons of Life and Land” have been on display at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, American Museum of Natural History in New York, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, and Grand Rapids Art Museum in Grand Rapids. Eight separate solo exhibits will be hosted in twenty-four museums through 2007. Banerjee’s photographs are represented exclusively by the Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe – New York.
Banerjee has worked closely with conservation organizations and members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to educate the public about the need to protect the Arctic Refuge from industrial exploitation. Speaking venues have included National Arts Club and The Explorers Club in New York, Smithsonian Institution and The Wilderness Society in Washington, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Emory University in Atlanta, Lensic Performing Arts Center and the Marion Center for Photographic Arts in Santa Fe, Mountain Film Festival in Telluride, National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, University of Washington and The Mountaineers in Seattle, University of Alaska in Fairbanks, and Banff Mountain Book Festival in Banff.
His Arctic Refuge project has been featured in interviews and lectures on NPR, CNN, CSPAN, LinkTV, Fine Living Network, Bravo Canada. His images have appeared in Vanity Fair, Vogue Hommes International, Newsweek, Discover, Outside, Audubon, Sierra, Defenders, National Wildlife, Natural History, Wildlife Conservation, Smithsonian, GEO (Germany & Spain), El Semanal (Spain), Corriere della Serra (Italy), Outlook (India), The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, and Seattle Times.
Subhankar Banerjee is the first recipient of the Lannan Fellowship for Cultural Freedom from the Lannan Foundation. Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowships were established in 2003 to help individuals who have demonstrated leadership on behalf of world cultural freedom, by promoting cultural diversity and strengthening cultural traditions and ties. The purpose of the Fellowship for Cultural Freedom is to encourage and support leaders in American and foreign communities to contemplate, reflect, write, and study. He has also received a National Conservation Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Federation, a Special Achievement Award from the Sierra Club and the Daniel Housberg Award from the Alaska Conservation Foundation.