Silence & Solitude

Format: Hardcover with dust jacket
ISBN: 1-931832-00-5
Author: Tom Murphy
Pages: 228

Silence & Solitude

by Tom Murphy

Powerful, brutal, beautiful, and at times, enchanting, winter in Yellowstone National Park is a world unlike any other. It is a season both abstract and profound, where super-heated water erupts into arctic air, where wildlife pushes snow in a constant struggle to survive, and where silence and solitude dominate the park’s deep wilderness. Photographer Tom Murphy has experienced Yellowstone’s winter wilderness as few others have, skiing far into the backcountry with heavy camera gear, an uncanny ability to weather cold and snow, and an artist’s eye for the sublime. His photographs reveal a majestic land where the air is clean and clear and where a wolf’s throaty howl carries for miles on a still day.

“Silence & Solitude: Yellowstone’s Winter Wilderness” shows us the splendor and force of Yellowstone’s long cold. In 130 photos we begin to understand the lives of the wildlife that must endure it; we begin to feel the inspiring power of a landscape still wild and pure; and we see nature’s beauty in things great and small. These photos are accompanied by Murphy’s thoughtful words that take us into the time and place of each image. The captions allow us to smile at a fox’s serious hunt for a mouse, to understand why bison stand stoically in geothermal steam, and to marvel at a sudden shift of subtle light that brings breathtaking grandeur to a nondescript little tree and just as suddenly takes it away.

As popular author Tim Cahill observes in his foreword, “These are photos that mirror a man’s passion, and I know of nothing like them anywhere. Murphy’s photographs are not simply stunning or striking: they are also knowledgeable and even wise.”


Also available as a DVD!

About the Author

Tom Murphy's photographic passion and specialty is Yellowstone Park. Since 1975 he has traveled extensively within its 3400 square miles, hiking thousands of miles and skiing on dozens of extended overnight trips in the backcountry. His photographs have been used in numerous regional, national, and international publications. Clients include Life, Architectural Digest, National Geographic, Audubon, and Time. Magazines such as Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Esquire, and others have sent him on assignments. His first book, Silence and Solitude, Yellowstone's Winter Wilderness, won a 2002 Montana Book Award. The video "Silence and Solitude" produced by Montana Public Television, earned an Emmy nomination for Tom's photography.

Press Release

New book reveals Yellowstone’s longest and least known season

Montana photographer specializes in Yellowstone’s winter wilderness

Tim Cahill calls the photographer “an artist of major distinction.”

Published simultaneously with a companion video by Montana Public Television

LIVINGSTON, Montana—A new book by Montana photographer Tom Murphy reveals a side of Yellowstone National Park that few people have seen, much less understood and appreciated.

Winter, the park’s longest and hardest season, is celebrated—“respected” may be a better word—in Murphy’s large format, hardcover book, Silence & Solitude: Yellowstone’s Winter Wilderness ($29.95, Riverbend Publishing). The book’s 130 photographs range from sweeping panoramas of backcountry landscapes to details of delicate ice crystals. Many of the photographs show wildlife trying to survive in near-arctic conditions: bison stoically standing in a geyser’s warm steam, hundreds of elk following one another single file through belly-deep snow, and a red fox leaping high in the air to come down hard on crusty snow and pin a mouse to the ground.

In his foreword to the book, popular author and Outside magazine editor-at-large Tim Cahill writes, "These are photos that mirror a man’s passion, and I know of nothing like them anywhere. Tom Murphy is an artist of major distinction. More often that not, the image itself tells a story. This is because Tom, who has been a guide in the park for two decades, knows the flora and fauna and the natural rhythms of the place in the way that he knows the beating of his own heart. Consequently, his photographs are not simply stunning or striking: they are also knowledgeable and even wise.”

Murphy, 51, was the first person licensed by the National Park Service to conduct photography workshops in Yellowstone. He spends 80 to 100 days within the park each year, and once he skied solo for 125 miles across the park. That trip, made during one of the worst winter storms of the decade, took 14 days.

“I seek out the winter here because I find things that are difficult or impossible to find anywhere else,” Murphy writes in the book’s introduction. “I make these photographs because I love the quiet beauty of this wilderness. I hope others feel, through my photographs, the wondrous elegance, symmetry, surprise and power of the place.”

Murphy also provided the film for a new video by Montana Public Television on winter in Yellowstone. The video and a CD of the video’s music are companion items to the book and share the same title, Silence & Solitude: Yellowstone’s Winter Wilderness.


Yellowstone book receives honor

Photographer’s first book receives honor

Montana publisher’s first book receives honor

The first book published by Helena’s Riverbend Publishing has been selected as a 2002 “honor book” in the new Montana Book Awards. “Silence & Solitude: Yellowstone’s Winter Wilderness” by Livingston photographer Tom Murphy was one of three honor books.

The 2002 Montana Book Award went to “Pictures from an Expedition” by Dianne Smith (Penguin Putnam), also of Livingston. In addition to “Silence & Solitude,” the other honor books were “Perma Red” by Debra Magpie Earling (BlueHen Books) and “The Big Burn” by Jeannette Ingold (Harcourt).

Of the 2002 winners, “Silence & Solitude” is the only book published by a Montana company. Riverbend Publishing debuted in December 2001 with “Silence & Solitude.” Since then Riverbend has published 14 new titles and acquired more than 20 distributed titles. Riverbend plans to publish 9 new titles in 2003.

The Friends of the Missoula Public Library founded the Montana Book Award in 2002 and a committee representing all areas of Montana selects winners. The award recognizes literary and/or artistic excellence for titles that are set in Montana, deal with Montana subjects, and are written or illustrated by a Montana artist.

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