About The Artist
Rob Badger and Nita Winter’s Artist Statement Written by Rob Badger
Nita Winter, my work and life partner, and I are both professional fine art and conservation photographers, and climate activists. We seek, deeply embrace, and revel in the positive, esthetic emotions we feel when we experience beauty. Although, as artists, we are truly fascinated by how it expresses its joyful, magnetic energy in an infinite and endless variety of forms, we are most powerfully drawn to the sources of that beautiful energy still surviving in the natural world.
We take great pleasure in using all our senses to be physically and emotionally present, and connected to the land and climate that nurtures Life and creates the precise conditions for its inhabitants to thrive, and to pass their unique individuality and vitality on to future generations. Through our documentary art we are able to hold, interpret and offer what we have seen and felt, intimate moments of discovery, wonder, and appreciation, and truly profound gratitude, for what Nature has given us to enjoy and protect.
Because powerful, engaging images can create a compelling visual message, we use our art to tell a photographic story, and color it with the emotions and tones that are a voice for the land, and the Life that is vulnerable and voiceless. Our art is intended to elicit positive esthetic emotions in others, strong feelings that will heighten their awareness and appreciation of Nature’s beauty, and inspire hope and action to value and protect it.
For the past 30 years, Nita and I have primarily focused on artistically documenting the magnificent diversity of native wildflowers on our Western public lands. Using only natural light, we carefully photograph individual wildflowers in the field, and we have been most fortunate to experience and document many dazzling superbloom landscapes.
Our work has evolved to become the documentary art project “Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change,” a growing body of images intended to inspire hope and action regarding climate change, land conservation and species extinction. The project includes a traveling, educational exhibit (see by over 60,000 people to date) and a companion, 12 time award-winning coffee table book. The book includes 18 engaging stories by passionate scientists, environmental leaders and nature writers that tell the wildflowers’ story. The book’s website is wildflowerbooks.com.
During the seasons when wildflowers are scarce, Nita and I enjoy photographing migratory birds that overwinter in wildlife refuges in California and the Southwest to feed and escape the cold. Images, printed on fine art paper, aluminum or wall fabrications, capture the birds in a moment of time, protected in the landscapes that sustain them.
“Supergraphic” reproductions of our work have been commissioned for architectural installations in public spaces. These large scale images are intended to give viewers a feeling that they can almost walk into them, immerse themselves in Nature’s beauty and linger there for a while. Therefore, we feel most fortunate that our work is used to help create peaceful and healing environments.
We are grateful, and truly in awe, when we see how printing technology has advanced, and allowed our work to be presented clearly and beautifully, on such a grand scale. For example, 24 of our images, some up to 12 feet tall, were built into the architecture of Sutter Van Ness Hospital in San Francisco. In Kaiser’s Redwood City Medical Center 34 images enhance the hospital’s environment. As patients, staff and visitors leave the elevators, on one of the seven different floors, they are greeted, by 8 feet tall, 20 feet wide Bay Area wildflower and foliage abstracts brilliantly printed on translucent lobby dividers.
We use our art to promote the healing process, on any and all levels possible, for both humans and the rest of the natural world. Our imagery connects us to Nature’s beauty that we have inherited, and is intended to inspire others to join us in protecting and restoring it.
Bios: Rob Badger and Nita Winter Rob Badger and Nita Winter, multiple award-winning fine art and conservation photographers (including Sierra Club’s 2020 Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography), have been life partners and creative collaborators for over 30 years. Their lives are devoted to promoting and sustaining healthy communities, both human and natural. In 1992, they experienced the intense and hypnotic beauty of a spectacular desert superbloom. This inspired them to begin what became a 27-year documentary art project, “Beauty and the Beast: Wildflowers and Climate Change.” While creating floral portraits on our western public lands, Rob devised two unique, artistic techniques to interpret and portray their ephemeral beauty. Because development and climate change increasingly impact vulnerable wildflower ecosystems, the photographers created ways to use their images to inspire hope and action to help protect them. Their 12-time award-winning coffee table book, “Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change,” is a companion to their ongoing traveling, educational exhibit seen by 100,000 visitors, including the San Diego Natural History Museum’s a custom, semi-permanent, large print exhibit. Rob’s first environmental work (1980, for Inyo County, California) documented the effects of Los Angeles’ groundwater pumping of the Owens Valley aquifer. His later projects focused on the devastating impact of logging and mining on public lands, and he has photographed more than thirty projects, as far away as Siberia, for major land conservation organizations. Nita discovered her talent for photographing people nearly 40 years ago while documenting her work fighting wildfires in Northern California. In 1986, her first major exhibit, “The Children of the Tenderloin,” in San Francisco, was followed by six acclaimed public art projects celebrating diversity: “In the Soup: The People of St. Vincent’s Dining Room,” and the Faces of Marin City, Novato, Vallejo and the Canal. The photographers’ work has been featured in Time, American Photo, Mother Jones, Natural Homes and Sierra magazines, and in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and San Francisco Chronicle. Their super-graphic architectural installations and fine art prints have been commissioned by the Utah, San Francisco and Alameda County Arts Commissions, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, State of California and the James Irvine Foundation. In 1995 Nita joined Rob in documenting our vanishing wildflowers and together they created the “Beauty and the Beast: Wildflowers and Climate Change” project embodying the unique perspectives and visions of two distinctly different photographers creating a body of work dedicated to the delicate and ephemeral beauty of the natural world. Currently they are working to raise the funds to create an audio-described version of their book and exhibit for the visually impaired and those who face reading challenges.
Exhibitions & Press
Rob and Nita’s Joint Sole Exhibits:
San Deigo Natural History Museum – California Blooming: Wildflowers and Climate Change in the Golden State 2021-22
Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change, a traveling, educational exhibit managed by Exhibit Envoy:
15 various locations throughout California 2016 – present with viewership of over 100K visitors.
2016 Jewett Gallery, San Francisco Main Public Library Original 100 image exhibit
Traveling Exhibit offered by Exhibit Envoy (52 images, map and text panels): San Bernadino County Museum, Redlands CA; California Museum, Sacramento; Grace Hudson Museum, Ukiah; Gateway Science Museum, Chico (Semi-Permanent Exhibit); Jewish Community Center of San Francisco; Sutter County Museum, Yuba City; Fullerton Arboretum, Fullerton; Hi-Desert Nature Museum, Yucca Valley; The Bay Model, Sausalito; Museum of the San Ramon Valley, Danville; Los Altos History Museum, Los Alto; La Quinta Museum, La Quinta CA
Nita’s Sole Exhibits:
Faces of Affordable Housing in Marin, Commission: Marin Community Foundation
2006 Marin Community Foundation Headquarters, San Rafael CA
2005 Marin Civic Center, San Rafael CA
The Faces of Vallejo Community Art Project (25 7’ outdoor photo banners featuring 50 photographs)
2003 Downtown Vallejo, Commissioned by the Arts Foundation of Vallejo and the City of Vallejo
The Faces of the Canal Community Art Project (50 outdoor photo banners with 100 images)
2002 Throughout the Canal Neighborhood, on bus shelters and large prints in the Pickleweed Community Center
The Faces of Novato Community Art Project (100+ images including 40 83″ outdoor banners)
2001 Old Town, Novato (4 + months to date)
The Faces of Marin City (135 image outdoor exhibit, including 24-94″ vinyl banners)
1999-2002 Gateway Shopping Center, Marin City CA (15 months), Marin Civic Center, Jewish Community Center, San Rafael, Tiburon Town Hall, Tiburon, The Bay Model Gallery, Sausalito CA
In the Soup, the Faces of St. Vincent’s Dining Room (61 prints up to 40 x 60″)
1998 Marin Civic Center, San Rafael CA Marin Community Foundation Larkspur Landing CA
1997-98 Caffe Valeska, San Rafael CA plus 6 Satellite Exhibits
Children, Children Everywhere and Not a Place to Play
1987-89 San Francisco Main Library, San Francisco Airport, North Terminal, Wells Fargo Bank, SF Civic Center
Children of the Tenderloin
1986-1988 San Francisco Main Library, Chevron Gallery, Chevron USA, PG&E Corporate Hdqtrs, Atrium Gallery and San Francisco Foundation
1986-1988 San Francisco Main Library, Chevron Gallery, Chevron USA, PG&E Corporate Hdqtrs, Atrium Gallery and San Francisco Foundation
Group Exhibits: Rob
2012 57 Degrees, Thoreau Center for Sustainability, Presidio, San Francisco CA
2010 Unveiling: Twelve Artists to Watch in 2011, Marin Arts Council Gallery, San Rafael CA
2010 Invitational: G2 Gallery: Where the Wild Things Grow, Venice CA 4 photographers
2009-10 Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards, British Museum of Natural History, London, International International Traveling Exhibit
2008 Best of Show: Juror’s Choice The Good, Bad & The Ugly, Environmental Issues Exhibit, Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, Colorado
2004 Marin Artists, Falkirk Gallery, San Rafael CA
2001 Photographer’s Gallery, Palo Alto CA
2001 Van Kampen Art Gallery, Palo Alto CA
2000 “Environmental Art,” Koret Gallery, Palo Alto CA
Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change, a 12 time award winning coffee table book published by WinterBadger Press and the California Native Plant Society January 2020 Features 190 photographs created by Rob badger and Nita Winter over a 27 year journey photographing wildflowers throughout California and other western states. 18 short personal stories by 16 authors made up of scientists, environmental leaders and nature writers. 11 of the 16 authors are women. WildflowerBooks.com
Fresh Start: Real Health, Real Results for Real People KQED Books 1996
Changing the Odds: Middle School Reform in Progress Edna McConnell Clark Foundation 1993
The Children of the Tenderloin 1986 Bay Area Women’s Resource Center
Nita and Rob’s images have appeared in dozens of publications: coffee table books, textbooks, magazines, newspapers, etc. including the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Sierra and Omni Magazines.
2020 Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography, – “Honors superlative photography that has been used to further conservation causes.”
2020 Eleven book awards for our coffee table book, Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change Book Awards: 3 Gold medals, including Best First Time Book Award from IBPA, 4 Silver, 3 Bronze Medal and an Honorable Mention.
Rob Badger’s Awards:
2014 Alameda County Arts Commission Award: $65,000
2009 Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards, BBC and British Museum of Natural History, “Wild Places” Highly Commended
2009 Avanti Award: $10,000 Individual Artist Grant
2008 Best of Show: “The Good, Bad & The Ugly,” Environmental Issues Exhibit, Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, Colorado
2001 Institute for Noetic Sciences, Community Arts Grant for “National Wild and Scenic Eel River” Documentary Project
1996 GRAPHIS Photo Annual Award (international magazine of design and communication), Antarctica Series
1994 Best in Journalism, Environmental Series: GRAPHIS Photo Annual Award
1994 Best in Color Landscapes, Maine Photographic Workshops Print Competition
1992 Award of Excellence, Communication Arts Photography Annual 1992
Nita Winter’s Awards/Grants:
2008 Master Artist Invitation: Marin Art Festival at the Civic Center Lagoon, San Rafael, CA
2002 $28,000 Grant from the Marin Community Foundation for The Faces of Affordable Housing
2002 $45,000 Grant from the Marin Community Foundation for The Faces of the Canal
2001 $24,000 Grant from the Marin Community Foundation for The Faces of Novato ($45,000 Budget)
2001 $10,000 Arts Grant from the Institute of Noetic Sciences for The Faces of Novato
2000 $20,000 Grant from the Marin Community Foundation for The Faces of Marin City
1998 $4,300 Marin Arts Council Community Arts Grant for The Faces of Marin City ($52,000 Budget)
1998 2nd Place, Color; 2nd Place Alternative Process, Napa County Photo Exhibit, Napa CA
1994 Communication Arts Annual, Editorial
1976-91 Various Awards: Nikon, Int’l Assoc, Business Communicators, Fellowship: Main Photographic Workshops, Rockport ME
Book Reviews for Beauty and the Beast:
2021 Fremontia, CNPS Journal
2020 Foreword Book Reviews
Articles about Beauty and the Beast:
2022 Appeal Democrat, Yuba City: ‘BEAUTY AND THE BEAST’: New wildflower exhibit raises awareness of climate change by by Shamaya Sutton.
2021 The Press Democrat: North Bay photographers’ new book captures diversity of native flowers, encourages conservation by Meg McConahey
2020 2 Million Blossoms Magazine: Chasing Spring: Timing is Everything by Ryan Burnett (reprint from book)
2019 Flora Magazine: In Wildflower’s Beauty, A Call to Action by Kathy Morrison
2019 San Francisco Chronicle: California’s Wildflower Blooms by Sam Whiting
2019 Bay Nature Magazine: California Wildflowers and Climate Change by Matthew Harrison Tedford
2019 Marin Independent Journal: A Voice for Wildflowers by Vicki Larson
2019 Pacific Sun: Native Beauty by Charles Swanson
2018 Pacific Horticultural Magazine: Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change
2018 Open Roads, NBC-TV. Featured artists interview with Doug McConnell
Articles about Winter and Badger:
2007 American Photo Magazine: Inside the Green Studio: Being eco-conscious can also be good business
2007 Natural Home Magazine: Focus on Sustainability May/June issue
2007 Marin IJ: Green Plan-it: Shutter Out the Pollution with Eco-friendly Photography
Articles about Nita Winter:
2008 Marin Independent Journal (Marin IJ): The Face Behind the “Faces” Project: Master Artist
2006 Marin IJ: Artist Dialogue, “Artists explore what it’s like to make Marin home” by Jeanne Bogardus
2005 Marin IJ: Artist Dialogue, “Students focus on challenging their first impressions” by Paul Mace/Maureen Parton
2002 SF Chronicle, “New Course for the Canal” by Jim Doyle
2002 Teaching Tolerance Magazine and Website, “Photography Breaks Down Stereotypes in Small California Town” Deb Fellner
2002 Marin IJ: “Canal’s Faces Flying High” by Rebecca Rosen Lam
2001 Marin IJ: “Novato ‘Faces’ project is on display”(2001), by Jane Futcher
2000 Photo District News, “Your Friends and Neighbors” by Deb Fellner
1999 San Francisco Examiner, “Marin City a moving portrait” by Mike Dougan
1999 Marin IJ: “Celebrating the Many Faces of Marin City” (1999) by Maia Werner
1997 Marin IJ: “Food for Thought” (1997) by Beth Ashley
1993 SF Examiner, Stephanie Salter
1987 SF Examiner, Museums and Galleries, “Emotional photos of the Tenderloin” by Al Morch
SF Chronicle Sunday Edition, This World, “Children of the Tenderloin” (cover and 2 page photo spread)
2016 NBC TV” “OpenRoad”, Rob Badger and Nita Winter’s wildflower photography/project featured, Interview by Doug McConnell (aired 3 times)
2002 Marin Report Ch. 26 “Faces of the Canal” (aired five times)
1999 “Wayne’s Notebook,” by Wayne Freedman, ABC NEWS (aired three times)
1988 WEEKEND EXTRA, KRON San Francisco “Children, Children Everywhere and Not a Place to Play”
Article by Rob Badger:
2005 Marin Independent Journal: Artist Dialogue, Getting Creative, an Om at a Time by Rob Badger
Nita grew up exposed to the broad world of art and photography through frequent visits to museums in Manhattan with her parents and siblings. She was especially dawn to her father’s love of photography.
Nita received a BS in Biology from Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts in the mid 1970’s. While there she began studying photography at the Worcester Art Center. Nita continued to learn more about this art form during a summer long fellowship at the Maine Photographic Workshop, where she was exposed to many of the nation’s top, world-renown photographers.
Working as a photographer’s assistant in San Francisco helped her learn about lighting and portrait photography.
Rob was basically self taught in photography. Over the years, he received encouragement from great photographers, like Ernst Haas and Robert Glenn Ketchum, while taking workshops at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops and Anderson Ranch.