Founded in 2002 by environmentalists Ron Chilcote and Jerry Burchfield, Laguna Wilderness Press is a non-profit press dedicated to publishing books about the presence, preservation, and importance of wilderness environments. Established out of the founders’ concern for the preservation of the Laguna Wilderness in South Orange County, California, the press is especially interested in the protection and development of wilderness areas within or near urban centers. The press intends to play a role in redefining the term progress and help reestablish the connection between humanity and nature, as well as produce books that reassess the histories of specific environments by addressing misinformation and disinformation.
To accomplish its goal of increasing public awareness of wilderness issues, the press will publish an on-going series of books that feature beautiful and thoughtful photographs alongside provocative and perceptive text. Each book will focus on a specific environmental area while addressing such universal concerns as urban growth and preservation of natural resources.
The first book in the series, Nature’s Laguna Wilderness (publication date August 2003), by Ron Chilcote, depicts the Laguna Wilderness, a controversial and endangered open space that is located in South Orange County, California, an area that is development prone and highly congested. Evocative color photographs from all parts of the Laguna Wilderness document the region while text describes the historical and geographical background of the area. With 79 color images—including 57 in full-page plates—and four maps interspersed with text, the book carries regional issues and educational efforts to a new level of sophistication and quality.
Future volumes will also focus on the Laguna Wilderness as well as other important and endangered environmental regions. These volumes will provide detail on the effort to balance change and human need with wilderness preservation through the extensive use of photography, art projects, and public involvement programs. The books will include information on history and archeology, flora and fauna, and the impact of urban growth on nature.
Jerry Burchfield, an internationally known artist/photographer and the photography gallery director and professor of photography at Cypress College in Cypress, CA, passed away in the fall of 2009. He authored several books on photography and served as a contributor and editor to several art journals. Over the years, Burchfield curated some three hundred exhibitions of photography and had over 450 shows of his own work worldwide. The relationship between man and nature remained a major emphasis of his work for over twenty years with a concentration on the preservation of the Laguna Wilderness and the Amazon.
Ron Chilcote is a professor of economics and political science at the University of California, Riverside. He is the author of a dozen books on comparative political economy and development, and is the managing editor of a bimonthly academic journal. Chilcote has devoted the past 15 years to building a portfolio and exhibiting his photographic images of wilderness environments in the Amazon and the western United States, including the Laguna Wilderness and Wyoming. For the past thirty five years, he has been working with others towards the realization of the vision of Jim Dilley to establish and preserve the Laguna Greenbelt and Wilderness.
Laguna Wilderness Press founder, Ron Chilcote, and Artist/Photographer Douglas Mcculloh currently serve as editors and co-director of the press. Laguna Wilderness Press also relies upon its advisory editorial board for ideas and networking in promotion of its publications. The advisory board is a growing group of photographer-environmentalists and representatives from participating environmental organizations.
Douglas McCulloh is a photographer, writer, and curator. His exhibition record includes Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing; Musée de l’Elysee, Lausanne; Musée Nicéphore Niépce, France; La Triennale di Milano, Italy; and Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City. McCulloh’s fifth book is The Great Picture: Making the World’s Largest Photograph (with The Legacy Project collaborative). He is a three-time recipient of project support from the California Council for the Humanities and has curated fourteen exhibitions, including three for the California Museum of Photography. His most recent curatorial project focuses on international blind photographers and has traveled to museums in Moscow, Mexico City, Seoul, Denver, and Washington D.C.
BC Space Gallery
Robert G. Ketchum
Director, Southeast Museum of Photography