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A Heritage on Film

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Published on: Nov. 2, 1996

Last revision: Oct. 25, 2010

His message comes across in black and white photographs of autumn leaves floating in a stream near Potosi, a bank of lush ivy along the KATY Trail, an abandoned farmhouse in south central Missouri. Bob Lindholm's sensitive photographic images confront us with what we've saved and what we've lost so far, in terms of our natural and cultural history.

Until he retired from the Attorney General's office in 1993 at age 58, most of Lindholm's work dealt with the aftermath of alleged environmental violations; for 22 years, the State of Missouri was his client. Now, when he says, "My children are my clients," it's apparent he means everyone's children. He's turned all his attention to helping preserve the natural world for them through his photos and words.

This mission began during his years with the state. "I noticed how many people really don't appreciate our natural resources," he says. "I began to think, there's got to be a way to communicate how valuable they are to us." He turned to photography to promote respect for the treasures of nature.

He looked for places for his message. An exhibit of 35 photos traveled to 24 national park sites, and he produced duplicate exhibits for President Jimmy Carter and the U.S. Congress. His photos have appeared in the Conservationist, Missouri Life, American Land Forum, Outdoor America and Outdoors Unlimited. He's been a contributor to Shutterbug, Photographic, Photomethods, Camera 35 and Hasselblad.

The Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, which deals with issues in the Lake Superior region, illustrated its 1985 report with Lindholm's photos. The Sierra Club named him recipient of its 1986 Ansel Adams Award for using photographs to further the cause of conservation.

Lindholm is a Missouri Chapter Trustee for the Nature Conservancy, and his photos have been published in chapter bulletins. The chapter sponsored an exhibit of his work in St. Louis in 1991.

In the July 1987 issue of Photomethods, his article "The Persuasive Camera" noted that Carleton Watkins' photos of Yosemite, William Henry Jackson's views of Yellowstone, and Ansel Adams' images of Kings Canyon helped save the national heritage.

In Missouri, Oliver Schuchard's poster of the free-flowing Meramec helped stop a dam project. "The inner satisfaction given photographers when recording light and shadows," Lindholm wrote, "needs to be utilized to influence others by creating that awareness of our world's balanced and beautiful life support systems." The world's beauty, he says,

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