An Incredible Wildlife Photography Exhibit Hits The Philadelphia Museum Of Art This Summer

Make plans now to get Wild on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway...

Over the last 30 years, nature photographer Michael Nichols has worked with Jane Goodall, splashed the pages of National Geographic and documented the relationship between man and the environment.

Now, the very first solo exhibition of his photography, entitled Wild: Michael Nichols, is on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through September 17.


  • Wild: Michael Nichols is exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through September 17.
  • Wild is the first major exhibition of Nichols’ stunning nature photography, which has been featured in National Geographic, Time magazine and more.
  • The exhibition includes photos from the Serengeti, the Congo Basin and the American West.
  • The museum’s family-friendly Art Splash series alongside the exhibit with animal-themed workshops and tours.

Allow Nichols’ photography to transport you from the Serengeti to the American West at this stunning new exhibition. Read on to learn more about Wild.

(Charger | Image courtesy Michael Nichols/National Geographic)
Wild is the first major exhibition of Michael Nichols’ stunning nature photography.

Exhibition Overview

Centrally located in the Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Wild: Michael Nichols features photographs pulled mainly from Nichols’ two published books, Brutal Kinship and The Last Place on Earth.

The first series details Nichols’ journey with Goodall through the wild, where he captured chimpanzees in the unspoiled freedom of their natural habitats. A sequence of explorations into the darker side of man’s interactions with the species follows as the photos’ subjects become unwitting participants in medical experiments or are sold into captivity as pets and performers.

Another photo journey followed in 1999, this time with scientist J. Michael Fay. As Fay worked his way across the largest tract of untouched land in the world in the Congo Basin, Nichols’ photographs became hard evidence in his fights to preserve the undeveloped expanse.

Other photo series in the exhibit highlight the wonders of Yellowstone National Park, the harsh conditions of lion prides in the Serengeti and intimate relationships between elephants at Zakouma National Park in Africa.

Works from the museum’s collections also provide a larger context for Nichols’ work to both capture nature and preserve its story.

Works to Look Out For

Sixty-foot banners of a coastal redwood and a giant sequoia in the Great Stair Hall welcome visitors to the museum and to the exhibit. The largest prints yet created of Nichols’ work, they serve as a stunning gateway into the power of the other works on display.

(Surfing Hippo | Image courtesy Michael Nichols/National Geographic)
Nichols’ Surfing Hippo was featured in Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential Images of All Time.”

Nichols is known the world over for his technical skill as a photographer, and prides himself on his efforts to photograph nature as an unseen observer. A perfect example of this is Grand Prismatic Spring at Minus 10 Degrees, one in a group of photos documenting Yellowstone National Park for National Geographic.

Lastly, Surfing Hippo, a part of The Last Place on Earth’s series of works, was featured in Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential Images of All Time.”

Programs and Events

Art Splash, a museum program dedicated to families with young children, returns through September 4. A dance class inspired by the movement of animals and a sing-along with Grammy-nominated artist Frances England are just some of the options available this summer.

Friday Nights at the museum go wild, too, with a Final Friday on July 28 that makes conservation a late-night focus. Young Friends members of the museum can take a turn at their photography skills with a street photography course led by Instagram influencer @urphillypal on July 12.

Most exhibition-related programs are free after admission, with the exclusion of the Young Friends event on July 12. While free for Young Friends, guests pay a $5 ticket price.

Tickets and More

Admission to Wild is free with admission to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, $14 for students and youth (13-18) and free for children 12 and under. Tickets are available online here.

Wild: Michael Nichols

When:Through September 17
Where:Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Cost:$20, adults; $18, seniors; $14, students and youth (13-18); free, children 12 and under



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