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Photo by Mark Burns

Want to take in the beauty of America’s National Parks but don’t have the time to zig-zag across the country? The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum has you covered with a new exhibit. “The National Parks — Select Images” runs Aug. 10–30, showcasing the work of American photographer Mark Burns.

For four years, from 2011-15, Burns crisscrossed the country visiting all 59 National Parks to capture the breathtaking natural beauty of our country. He headed out on trails and climbed mountains seeking the perfect shots, which are reminiscent of a project famed photographer Ansel Adams created of the American West, down to the black and white imagery.

“I chose to photograph this project entirely in black and white,” says Burns. “For me, black and white provided the timeless bridge back to the past century. It’s also the photography medium that I prefer to work in. When I’m in the field, I’m not necessarily trying to capture what I’m looking at, but more what I’m feeling. The black and white medium allows me to best express that.”

The exhibition dovetails with a new children’s book released by Laura Bush with her daughter Jenna. “Our Great Big Back Yard” follows a little girl who at first is not excited about a family road trip to see the National Parks.

“In the beginning, she’s glued to her iPad,” Laura Bush said during a recent talk at Edgemere senior living. But by the end, she’s looking up in wonder at the beauty of America. “It’s a love letter to our National Parks.”

The display and the book celebrate the centennial anniversary of America’s National Parks, which were first protected under a bill signed by President Woodrow Wilson on Aug. 25, 1916.

“Since Abraham Lincoln first signed the bill protecting Yosemite in 1864, presidents and Congress have been integral in the creation of our system of national parks,” says Emily Robison, acting director of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.


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