Ian Shive is an award-winning conservation photographer, author, educator, film producer and environmental advocate, most recently recognized as the recipient of the Sierra Club’s 2011 Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography. Shive’s images have appeared in publications around the world including National Geographic, Time, Ski, Travel Channel, Gourmet, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, US News & World Report, Popular Science, Men’s Journal, Outside and hundreds of others. Often referred to as the leading chronicler of America’s National Parks today, Shive’s book The National Parks: Our American Landscape has become a best-selling photography book and has helped shape diplomacy efforts around the world through his Wilderness Diplomacy initiative, currently underway in Afghanistan.
In addition to being an active photographer, Shive is also the founder and CEO of Tandem Stills + Motion, Inc. a photography and motion clip licensing agency representing over 300 photographers worldwide specializing in the genres of culture, travel, geography, nature, adventure sports, outdoor lifestyle, sustainable living and nature conservation. When he is not running operations at Tandem or fulfilling an assignment, Shive shares his knowledge as a photojournalism instructor at the University of Southern California.

He resides in Los Angeles.

Full Biography:
Ian Shive, 33, is an award-winning conservation photographer, author, educator, film producer and environmental advocate, most recently recognized as the 2011 Sierra Club Ansel Adams Photography Award winner. Ian is the embodiment of the revolution surging through the world of photography, specifically the adventure art form whose essence it is to not only convey but also disseminate stories about our planet’s wild places and its inhabitants through images. In a relatively short time, Ian has earned a reputation as the leading chronicler of America’s greatest treasures – The National Parks – while simultaneously pioneering innovative portals with which to deliver this information. His work has appeared around the world in hundreds of publications, on television, in films and exhibits. He has been recognized with numerous accolades and awards.

Published Works, Editorial:

Ian’s photographs have appeared in hundreds of publications over the last 10 years including many features in National Parks magazine. Many of Ian’s stories were “firsts” in his field as well as Ian being the first photojournalist ever to document the work of national park rangers on the search-and-rescue team of Mt. McKinley, the highest mountain in North America and the heart of Denali National Park, Alaska. A certified scuba diver, Ian also joined forces to dive beneath the surface with the national park’s underwater archaeological arm, the Submerged Resources Center, where in Lake Mojave, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Nevada.

In addition to these stories and more, Ian’s photos have appeared in National Geographic, National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Traveler, National Geographic Adventure, Outside, Men’s Journal, Backpacker, Sierra Magazine, The Nature Conservancy, National Parks Magazine, and Popular Science, as well as other major publications including Time Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Sunset Magazine, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Popular Photography, Outdoor Photographer, Ski Magazine, and many others. He has executed many assignments for these same magazines. His images have appeared in nearly every country worldwide including China, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, France, Italy, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Mexico, Canada, Australia, India, among others.

A prolific writer, Ian contributed articles to Popular Photography & Imaging and Outdoor Photographer, the two leading publications for photography in the United States. He continues to contribute regularly as a columnist on the Outdoor Photographer magazine blog. His images also have appeared as the face of many advertisers including Delta, Bing, Pfizer, Verizon, Patagonia, Ibex Outdoor Clothing and in-flight on Virgin Atlantic Airways, and can be downloaded as part of the iGoogle Nature Themes, alongside Ansel Adams, BBC Earth and National Geographic.

Published Works, Books:

In August 2009, Ian released his first, solo by-lined book on America’s greatest treasures and his most familiar subject titled The National Parks: Our American Landscape (Earth Aware Editions).

Having amassed nearly 5,000 park images, Ian was approached to publish a book on the subject. Feeling the need for more photos to capture his vision, he embarked on a grueling 21-day photo-expedition that crisscrossed the country and back, capturing with keen foresight much of the making of the book on video. His goal to dust off the retired image of the parks and demonstrate that they are still here, still worth preserving and just waiting to be seen, was a huge success. Boasting more than 224 pages of richly hued photographs, the 4.4-pound tome masterfully combines the light and tone of some of the most stunningly breathtaking places in the United States, from mountains and rivers to forests and plains. Accompanied by his minimal but insightful narrative, the book celebrates not only the sweeping grandeur of landscapes but also the often-forgotten finer points of vegetation and wildlife, seen through fresh eyes.

Self-financed, for the next year Ian single-handedly promoted The National Parks: Our American Landscape, breaking new ground along the way with his innovative, winning style of marketing the book, particularly placing heavy emphasis on utilizing multimedia and the web, including online community populations, in a manner never before seen. Through strategically diversified micro marketing efforts, Ian also embraced individual targeted groups, among them the Hispanic, outdoor sports, young adult and teens, and scientific communities.

The National Parks: Our American Landscape currently is in its fourth edition. The book reached the #1 spot on for conservation and photography and has remained in the top-ten selling list on Amazon for nearly one year since its initial release and in the top 50 2-years after it’s release. It has also been listed on The New Yorker list of must-have books. In May 2010, the book won the Nautilus Book Award, Gold Place, in the Great Peacemakers category, placing Ian in the company of such past award recipients as the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, M.D., Barbara Kingsolver and Mariel Hemingway.

After the success of the hardcover an expanded, fresher and lighter but no less spectacular paperback edition of the book was created and released in April 2011. Since the initial publication of the hardcover, Ian further expanded on his images of the parks, adding over 40 new landscapes including images from the Great Smoky Mountains, Hawaii’s national parks and historical sites, and new “firsts” with winter aerials of Alaska’s rugged backcountry mountains in Lake Clark National Park.

Public Outreach:

Ian’s combined, self-financed efforts to disseminate the message of conservation and the importance of our national parks has reached over 100 million people through every form of media. Ian’s outreach integrated book signings and personal appearances, along with live Internet, radio and television spots, including NBC, CBS, and ABC, and the popular radio program The Dennis Miller Show, in the top national markets of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Denver, and Atlanta, as well as smaller key markets of Minneapolis, Palm Springs, Sacramento, Palm Springs, Oakland and Salt Lake City. To date, articles and promotions have appeared in news publications and magazines with circulations ranging from over 30,000 to more than 3 million readers. In August 2009, the book was featured in the cover story, “National Parks with Amazing Views,” in Sunset Magazine, a how-to guide to living in the West, over an eight-page uninterrupted spread; and again in December 2009, in Outdoor Photographer, over a seven-consecutive page article entitled “America’s National Treasures.”

In tandem with the book, Ian also co-produced the five-part travelogue film series, “Wild Exposure,” a behind-the-scenes look at the making of The National Parks: Our American Landscape from the road. Airing in heavy rotation, “Wild Exposure” began airing in 2009 on “Current TV,” led by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and businessman Joel Hyatt, reaching up to 41 million homes nationwide.

Ian has given over a hundred public presentations and speeches for companies and government organizations spreading the important message of environmental awareness at institutions including Walt Disney Imagineering, REI, the University of Miami and Sacramento State University, and the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, to name only a few.

Political Influence:

In 2007, after years of being involved in, as well as donating his services to, nature-related causes, Ian became part of a 13-member team that lobbied Congress to halt construction of the border fence along the 2,000-mile long U.S.-Mexico Border. Using photographs to document the environmental impact from both the ground and the air, Ian and the team brought nationwide attention to the issue including the disregard of over 30 laws and the detrimental effects of building a wall through a wildlife corridor. His images later were featured in a documentary presented during a Congressional briefing on the matter with several included in the traveling exhibit, “Continental Divide: Borderlands, Wildlife, People and the Wall,” that opened on Capitol Hill in the foyer of the House of Representatives.

In November 2009, and hosted by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Max Baucus from Montana, Ian was a guest at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C., where he presented images as the evening’s keynote speaker of the National Parks and shared stories of traversing its system from the backcountry of Yellowstone to the coral reefs of Biscayne, accompanied by his self-produced multimedia film that focused on the challenges confronting America’s most beloved landscapes.

Throughout 2010 and 2011 Ian has further expanded his outreach with his Wilderness Diplomacy initiative. Under this program, Ian has worked with non-profit organizations to provide copies of his book as a diplomatic tool and conversation starter in otherwise sensitive areas where the US is working. To date, hundreds of copies of Ian’s books have been used as diplomatic tools in places such as Cuba, the United Arab Emirates and most extensively in Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan, Ian has distributed hundreds of books as “conversation starters” between the people and American forces. In particular, the book was given out at the meeting of top US Generals including General David Petraeus (now Director of the Central Intelligence Agency), General John Campbell and the provincial governors of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. The book was also presented as a gift to the Japanese Ambassador after the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami as a reminder of the healing power of the Earth. It has also been used in many other political circles in the environment here at home with the Department of the Interior.

A story on Ian’s Wilderness Diplomacy work in Afghanistan became the cover story of the May/June issue of Sierra Magazine asking the intriguing question “Could photographs of the environment trigger a cultural cease-fire?

Non-Profit Associations & Work:

For the last few years, Ian has crisscrossed the planet working solely as a conservation photographer, documenting some of the world’s wildest and most endangered ecosystems. He frequently works on assignment for The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club and National Parks Conservation Association. He is also proud of his collaborative work with the Sierra Club.


-2011, Sierra Club, Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography

San Francisco, California

– 2010, Gold Place, Nautilus Book Awards, New York, NY

The National Parks: Our American Landscape, Great Peacemakers category

– 2008, Gold Place, Folio Awards, New York, NY

National Parks Magazine “Ghosts of Steamtown”

– 2008, Gold Place, Folio Awards, New York, NY

National Parks Magazine  “Best Use of Photography, Association or Non-Profit”

Critical Acclaim & Reviews:

Receiving international critical acclaim for his National Park imagery, Monde de la Photographie, a photography publication based in Paris, France, labeled Ian “the next Ansel Adams,” while still others proclaimed Ian was “picking up the torch” where Adams left off. In April 2010, the web site which was nominated for a Webby Award – what The New York Times calls the “Internet’s Highest Honor – published, “Four words that will cement his (Ian’s) place in history as one of the best park photographers of all time. ‘Not since Ansel Adams’…has one photographer published a work that truly captures the magnitude and majesty that are America’s National Parks. …Shive captures in all their glory, the rich and varied landscapes that make these hallowed lands America’s true national treasure.”


Besides appearing as a guest on numerous morning shows and news programs, Ian has also signed on as a producing partner and member of the cast in the new web series cum TV pilot, Wild Life: A New Generation of Wild. Featuring young actors James Lafferty, his brother Stuart and Stephen Colletti from the hit show One Tree Hill, the group has brought the environment to a whole new generation of young people that may otherwise have never realized how amazing their own backyard could be. To date, the pilot episode has reached teens and young adults in over 120 countries and has been hailed as a fresh new approach to programming. Many media outlets including MTV, Us Weekly, VH1 and Campus Circle have written features on their work, further expanding the reach of their message. The group is currently in talks to bring the show to television as a regular series.

11 responses to “Biography

  1. great shots!
    beautiful. they make me want to be there.
    i can see that you enjoy creating them.

    curious,,,are your photos digital or film or both? they look great.


  2. what an exhilirating collection of images. i know the best is yet to come as you continue to focus your talent on your true calling. you are a brilliant environmental photographer and naturalist, ian. you capture the color and light of these locations with pure skill and grace. i would love to see more in black & white.

  3. you are an extraordinary shooter and truly an artist in your artform. your images are astounding. i look forward in experiencing your travels abroad through your photography.

    the bold color and excellent composition truly sets you apart from all others. stay safe and continue to show the world what they’re missing out on…


  4. Ian,

    You made such an amazing presentation at Grandfather Mountain this weekend! Thanks for all the great info and sharing your work with us!

  5. I work for The Nature Conservancy and just got our most recent magazine. As often happens to me with incredible photographs, I was moved by your images. It is always nice to have a reminder (since I’m behind the scenes rather than on the ground) why I come to work. I was so pleased to find your website and delve a bit deeper into your work. Thank you for the inspiration!

  6. Ian, its great to see your development as an artist and as a proponent for conservation. Congratulations for the success of your book — its well deserved. In particular, the cover for the hardcover is especially nice, not only because its beautiful but also because I had the satisfaction of standing right next to you when you captured it! I hope you continue to enjoy success —

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