- Among the Animals: Mississippi (2008)
- Lost in the Amazon (2007)
- Mississippi Off the Beaten Path by Marlo Carter Kirkpatrick
- Mississippi Impressions (written by Marlo Carter Kirkpatrick, photos by Stephen Kirkpatrick) 2005
- Images of Madison County (2006)
- Romancing the Rain (2002)
- Extreme Exposure: The True Story of a Photo Expedition Lost in the Amazon (2002)
- Wilder Mississippi (2001)
- Wild Mississippi (1993)
- Mississippi Wildlife Viewing Guide (2001)
- To Catch the Wind: A Photographer’s Journey by Marlo Sibley, Heidi Allen, and Stephen Kirkpatrick (1997)
- In Wilderness Song: Litany of the Common Loon (1995)
- The Naturalist’s Journal: A Book for Records, Notes and Observations (1994)
- Whistling Wings: The Beauty of Ducks in Flight (1989)
- First impressions: A photographic collection of nature’s moments, moods & memories (1983)
by Audrey Mott (SHS)
Stephen and Marlo Kirkpatrick currently live in Madison, Mississippi, where they base their business of photography and writing. Stephen Kirkpatrick is a wildlife photographer who published eleven solo pictorial coffee table books. He and his wife Marlo (she does the writing) have together published numerous works, many of which reveal the mystery and beauty of the various flora and fauna in Mississippi. Stephen’s fascination with wildlife began when he was very young. He had many unusual pets and also operated a snake farm in his family’s backyard. His future as a photographer was sealed when his father gave him his first camera in 1981, and he has been going strong ever since.
While Stephen was on an expedition in the Peruvian Amazon in 1998, he met Marlo Carter, and almost immediately they fell in love. They held their wedding ceremony in Macchu Picchu. In 1995, Stephen Kirkpatrick took a trip to the Amazon that turned disastrous. His five-man expedition was lost for twelve grueling days in the harsh jungle. In the book Extreme Exposure, Marlo Kirkpatrick writes in great detail the account of the team’s struggle to survive.
Stephen’s three sons, Sean, Ryan, and Ian usually accompany the Kirkpatricks on their trips throughout the Americas. They have traveled to many places, including the San Juan Islands, Canada, and Belize. They are also accompanied by Marlo’s two dogs, Frosty and Icy, and Buster, the family cat. Their pet rat Homer favors staying closer to home.
Stephen Kirkpatrick has published over 2,300 photographs in his career, many of which have been in nationally circulated magazines such as Delta Sky, Audubon, Ducks Unlimited, BBC Wildlife, National Wildlife, and many others. His photography has earned many awards at national and international photography conventions, including the International Photographer of the Year competition in London, England.
Marlo Kirkpatrick’s work has earned over 75 regional and national awards for her creative excellence. Their book, Wilder Mississippi, has been declared winner of the NOBA award in the Design and Artistic Merit category. The Kirkpatricks are currently working on a group of projects focusing on tropical locations and underwater photography (Toler). In addition, The Southeastern Outdoor Press Association named Lost in the Amazon the 2007 Book of the Year, and their book Sanctuary: Mississippi’s Coastal Plain won first place in the 19th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.
Note: See interview below for more details.
A Review of Wilder Mississippi
Stephen and Marlo Kirkpatrick’s Wilder Mississippi takes the reader on a journey through the unseen aspects of the state, captured in brilliant color and detail in a 160-page book. In Wilder Mississippi, Photographer Stephen Kirkpatrick re-visits the theme of Wild Mississippi, but exposes the state’s living waters, secret spaces, and vibrant colors in a more in-depth manner. In Kirkpatrick’s photography, the texture of the bold and magnificent flora and the elusive fauna almost seem to leap off the page, almost touchable.
His wife, travel writer Marlo Kirkpatrick, contributes to the vivid photographs with her own sense of imagery and style. The spirituality of her heartfelt words brings one to a greater appreciation of nature in all its splendor. They express their vision and their own personal belief in a creator God through a synthesis of words and pictures.
Wilder Mississippi‘s stunning photography, along with its passionately written descriptions, is divided into eight eye-capturing sections, exposing every area of Mississippi’s great woodlands, prairies, and waterways. The reader is immediately hypnotized from cover to cover. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and recommend it to all lovers of Mississippi’s bountiful heritage of natural splendor. For those who enjoyed Wild Mississippi, this follow-up book will be a real treat, a feast for eyes and soul.
A Review of Wild Mississippi
by Audrey Mott (SHS)
Wild Mississippi by Stephen Kirkpatrick breathtakingly displays the beauty and mystery of Mississippi’s flora and fauna through the art of photography. This look at the state’s natural paradise begins with a section called “Open Spaces,” a collection of images from Forest County, Stone County, Madison County, and many others. This section focuses mainly on Mississippi’s prairies, meadows, fields, and bogs. In one of his photographs, Kirkpatrick captures a knarled black willow silhouetted against a lake, reflecting an orange and purple sunrise. This picture is just one of the many stunning images in this section.
“Coastal Sands” is the next collection of wildlife and nature photography in Wild Mississippi, and it deals with the Gulf Coast and the Barrier Islands. In this section, you will notice that many of the pictures are taken from Horn Island. With these photos, Kirkpatrick captures the essence of Mississippi’s wild beaches, the coastlines of sand and driftwood unpolluted by human expansion. I will leave the last two sections, “Wooded Expanse” and “Quiet Waters,” to be discovered by the reader. These sections contain various images from many different counties throughout the state.
This book is quite a find, and I would recommend it to anyone, whether they like photography or not. Although Wild Mississippi is out of print, you can most likely pick it up at your local library.
by Audrey Mott (SHS)
Is your book Wilder Mississippi somehow reflective on your life and past experiences?
No. Stephen’s earlier book, Wild Mississippi, included some references to his personal experiences while out in nature, but Wilder Mississippi is a tribute to the state’s natural beauty – a celebration of the Mississippi wilderness that can be shared with anyone, native to the state or not.
Why did you choose Mississippi?
When Stephen first began working as a wildlife photographer 21 years ago, he was considered a pioneer in the field. At that time, there were no classes in wildlife photography available, no books to read, very little information on the “profession” at all. He did read one magazine article in which an editor wrote, “Show me someone who can shoot a compelling feature in the half-acre behind their house, in their own backyard, and I’ll show you someone I can send on assignment anywhere in the world.”
This idea appealed to Stephen for two reasons. First, he realized everything he needed – light, subject matter, talent – was right there in his own backyard. Second, at that time, he couldn’t afford to go anywhere else.
So he worked at honing his craft in his own backyard, became good at it, and eventually, was able to travel all over the world shooting. About five years ago, Stephen decided he wanted a “refresher course” – to see if after all those exotic locations and subjects, he could still create something compelling at home. Only now, his own backyard was all of Mississippi. The result was Wilder Mississippi.
The bottom line to the project is this – most people think, “If I could only go to Africa (or the Amazon, or anywhere else exotic) I could take good pictures.” A good photographer is not someone who goes to an extraordinary place and takes ordinary pictures, but someone who goes to an ordinary place (like Mississippi) and takes extraordinary pictures.
How long did it take to complete Wilder Mississippi?
From concept to completion, approximately three years. With only a few exceptions, the entire book was shot in that time period.
Was there something in particular that got you interested in photography and your wife in writing?
Ironically, Stephen is not really interested in photography, even after 21 years as a professional. His first love is nature – he grew up hunting, fishing, camping, and was a big outdoors man all his life. His father gave him a camera in 1981, and Stephen started taking it with him on his outdoor adventures. He soon found he preferred “hunting” with a camera to hunting with a gun. Stephen has never taken a photography class, and shows very little interest in the technical side of photography (equipment, etc). His approach is much more artistic and geared toward experiencing nature rather than the mechanics of photography.
As for me, I have been a writer all my life. I began writing short stories, etc. when I was in the fifth or sixth grade, and always knew I wanted to write as a career. I’ve been a full time freelance writer and book author for almost 10 years. Prior to that, I was an advertising agency copywriter. It’s a good thing I’ve been fairly successful at writing, as I have absolutely no other talents to speak of!
How has Mississippi or living in Mississippi influenced your writing?
First, a lot of my writing has been about Mississippi. I’ve written several books on the state, as well as some promotional pieces and a short film on Mississippi’s culture and history.
Second, and perhaps more important, Mississippi is legendary for its writers, and the climate here encourages creativity. If you aspire to be a writer here and actively work at your craft, people take you seriously and encourage your efforts. In general, I believe Mississippi is a place where the goal of being a professional writer is seen as an attainable one, rather than an unrealistic dream. I don’t think that’s true of every place.
Who are your favorite authors?
I’d like to sound more literary, but I confess to enjoying popular fiction more than “serious” fiction. I enjoy the works of Nevada Barr, Perri O’Shaunessy, Steve Martini, Patricia Cornwell, Carolyn Haines, and the older works of Stephen King. On a more “sophisticated” level, I also read Pat Conroy, Ernest Hemingway, and John Steinbeck. I once read aloud to Willie Morris from his own books at a dinner party, and appreciated his works even more after meeting him in person.
Who are Stephen’s favorite photographers?
Ansel Adams, Thomas Mangelson, David Doubilet
What authors and photographers have influenced you the most?
We both enjoy studying the works of other writers and photographers, but work hard to develop our own photo style and writing voice.
What type of student were you in high school?
Stephen was a good student – when he went to class. He often arrived late on Monday morning, coming to school straight from his duck camp.
I was an excellent student (with the exception of math, which repeatedly kept me from earning straight A’s). I took AP English and college-level creative writing courses in high school.
Are you currently working on a new book?
We are working on a new book, tentatively titled 52 Weeks. This book would document a year of travel and adventure around the world. We are shooting for publication in late 2004, but the book is in the very early planning stages, so we can’t really pin down a date at this time. We released two books in fall of 2002, and will continue to promote those titles throughout 2003.
How many awards have you received?
Between the two of us, well over 100. The most recent awards we received were for the book Wilder Mississippi, which won the National Outdoor Book Award (the most prestigious award in outdoor publishing) and was also named the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association’s 2002 Book of the Year.
Do you have any advice for future writers/photographers or students?
If you are serious about pursuing a creative career, don’t be afraid to go for it. Read all you can, seek out internships, and try to establish a mentoring relationship with someone who’s already established in the field and can help you avoid pitfalls. Be realistic – while there are some true creative geniuses out there and some people who get incredible breaks early in their careers, creative fields are competitive, emotionally demanding, and if you’re going to pay your bills doing it, a lot of very hard work. You should not go into writing or photography because you expect to get rich. In most cases, careers like these choose you – you fall into them because you love them, they consume and energize you, and often, because you simply find that you can’t do anything else.
The subject of our pets:
Yes, the pets (2 dogs, a cat, and a rat) travel with us when possible. As we travel farther and to more exotic destinations; however, they make fewer trips. In my bookMississippi Off the Beaten Path, I devoted a section to my dog, Frosty, who accompanied me on most of the research trips. Frosty turned out to be a big help – I met a lot of people who provided me with valuable information when they stopped to pet my dog.
How has religion influenced your studies?
By “religion” I assume you mean our Christian faith. It is a part of everything we do. Every book we produce has an inspirational message.
What are your parents’ names?
My parents are Kelly and Polly Carter. Stephen’s parents are O.L. Kirkpatrick and Penny Hoz.
Where were you born?
I was born in Memphis. Stephen was born in Delaware and raised in Alaska and Louisiana.
Where did you attend college and what were your degrees?
I attended the University of Mississippi and earned a BA in English and a BA in journalism. Stephen attended Louisiana State University, where he majored in speech.
- Kirkpatrick store for photography and books.
- Biography of Marlo Kirkpatrick.
- Biography of Stephen Kirkpatrick available here as well as Mark Melvin’s.
- Kirkpatrick, Stephen. Wild Mississippi. Jackson: Thy Marvelous Works, 1993.
- Kirkpatrick, Stephen, and Marlo Carter Kirkpatrick. Wilder Mississippi. Madison: Thy Marvelous Works, 2001.
- Kirkpatrick, Stephen. “Stephen Kirkpatrick.” Kirkpatrick Wildlife Photography. 17 December 2002. <http://www.kirkpatrickwildlife.com/home1.htm>.
- Toler, Melanie. “Re: Mississippi Writer’s Project @ Starkville High.” E-mail to the publicist. 11 December 2002.