The First Two Generations Of Muench Photographers

Josef Muench was born in Bavaria in 1904. At the age of 11 he received his first camera and began a lifelong interest in capturing nature on film. He arrived in the United States with his brother in 1928 and eventually settled in California.

In the 1930s, Monument Valley remained virtually unknown (except to the Navajo) until Muench took some of the most memorable photographs of it beginning in 1936. He returned over 350 times to photograph there. In 1938, he met with the editor of Arizona Highways Magazine who ran Josef's photograph of the Rainbow Bridge National Monument. Not long after, Muench's name became synonymous with Arizona Highways Magazine where he worked for more than 50 years, using mostly his 4x5 camera.

Later he also photographed in Africa, Alaska, Asia, Canada, Europe, Hawaii, the Rocky Mountains and beyond. The unmanned Voyager Expeditions, launched in 1977, included his photo of a snow-covered Sequoia redwood taken in Kings Canyon National Park. Josef Muench died in 1998 at the age of 94, but his legacy remains.

David Muench, an innovator in landscape photography, has said that nature is his greatest teacher. Son of the founding father of color landscape photography, Josef Muench, and father of Marc Muench, David contributes to the world of photography by illustrating the beauty of the land. Best known for his unique view of the American western landscape, he has presented us with the clear lakes and wild rivers of this country for more than 50 years. Muench's formal schooling includes Rochester Institute of Technology, University of California at Santa Barbara, and Art Center School of Design in Los Angeles, California.

No permits or plane tickets were contemplated when Muench first traversed the western landscape with his adventurous parents. His father photographed while his mother, Joyce, wrote about their experiences. The family would travel from their home in Santa Barbara to the eastern Sierras, still one of David's favorite places, or to the deserts of the Southwest, taking airboats up the Colorado River or animal pack trips deep into the canyons.

William Conway, the former president of the Wildlife Conservation Society, praised David as one of the most "prolific and sensitive recorders of a rapidly vanishing natural world" while setting the standard and raising the bar for color landscape photography. David was commissioned to provide photographs for 33 large murals on the Lewis and Clark Expedition that hang in the Jefferson Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, Missouri. His work is widely published in more than 60 books and publications.

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