Born in Illinois’s Cook County, Eliot Porter discovered his love for photography at a very early age. He is best known for his breathtaking photographs of the Great Spruce Head Island, property owned and maintained by his family.
Porter was also an accomplished intellectual, possessing degrees in both medicine and chemical engineering. Porter has a number of non-photography achievements to his credit as well, including a career as a biochemical researcher at Harvard University.
Porter traveled extensively in the interests of his beautiful color nature photographs. He specialized in places that were known for being culturally significant, important from an ecological standpoint, or both. Captured locations include the Galapagos Islands, East Africa, Ireland, Baja California, and Maine. Noteworthy achievements include:
Cultural studies that covered areas such as Mexico, Egypt, and China.
His celebrated book The Place No One Knew, a work that recorded the majestic Glen Canyon before the building of the Glen Powell reservoir.
A collaboration project with James Gleick that paired Porter’s impressive photography with a powerful essay on chaos in nature by Gleick.
Bequeathing his entire personal archive to the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas upon his death.
Being elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1971.