Children's Hospital Colorado

Nature as Art

A headshot of John Fielder wearing a blue and white striped dress shirt.
In 1973, Fielder rented his first camera. He started his publishing business, Westcliffe Publishers, more than 25 years ago and has since published more than 38 books. Fielder’s first children’s book is set to debut on Oct. 10, 2006. He hopes the book will bring the beauty of nature to children of all ages.

John Fielder, nationally renowned photographer, publisher, teacher and preservationist, is bringing the outdoor beauty of Colorado inside for children, families and staff at Children's Hospital Colorado.

About one dozen Fielder images will be displayed inside the hospital in various formats. "I hope the photos promote a healthy, healing and uplifting atmosphere," said Fielder.

Fielder has lived in Denver since 1972 and understands the important role that Children's Colorado has played in the Colorado community. He is honored to donate his photos to the hospital. "I love sharing what I see – nature as glorious as it is," he said.

Fielder's first visit to Colorado at age 14 sparked a passion for the outdoors and Colorado. "I have never seen a sight more beautiful," he said. "Snow-capped peaks in the summer – it was almost a religious experience for me. Colorado was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen and I knew I had to be here."

His 65-pound old-fashioned camera seems to fit his conventional style – he spends 12 weeks a year living outdoors, capturing the sights, sounds, tastes and touches of Colorado nature. His life is defined by four distinct seasons, "which is the beauty of Colorado," he said.

In the summer, he hikes and camps the mountainous peaks and rolling hills; in the fall, he drives on dirt roads, capturing the rich colors of aspen leaves; in the winter, he is at home in remote cabins and skis are his main mode of transportation and in the spring, he captures the light-green colors of blossoming buds from a raft.

A close-up of yellow and orange leaves on a snow background.
Rustic indian paintbrush, marsh marigolds, purple Columbines, rocks with lichen, moss campion and colorful aspen leaves will brighten vinyl tiles in the schematic flooring of Children’s new cafeteria.

He is at home and comfortable when he is outdoors. "To me, nature is a permanent thing," he said. "I need nature to help me deal with all the challenges in my own life."

And, just as Fielder uses nature as a form of healing in his own life, he hopes his photos do the same for children and families at the hospital.

"It is important to not just cure disease, but also prevent it – and having a relationship with nature can prevent disease and promote health," he said.

In the words of Enos Mills, the father of Rocky Mountain National Park and a personal mentor of Fielder's, "Probably the best way to delay death, the best medicine to lengthen life, is to take to the woods. This life-sustaining prescription is most effective as a preventive and should be regularly used. Like a sermon, it should be taken once in a while whether needed or not. It is Mother Nature's cure-all, and there are no substitutes.