River Doctors: Taking the Pulse of the World’s Largest Rivers

Photographs by Chris Linder

February 21–April 2, 2014

Doctors learn about the health of a person by studying blood. Earth scientists learn about the health of rivers — and the land surrounding those rivers — by studying water chemistry. River Doctors tells the story of four watersheds, revealing how deforestation, land disturbances, and climate change affect rivers and, in turn, the people who depend on them for recreation, commerce, and livelihood.

Oceanographer–turned–photographer Chris Linder’s photographs draw viewers in with stunning views and captivating narratives. A deeper look reveals the story of how scientists are striving to understand the future of global watersheds.

River Doctors is made possible through support from the National Science Foundation.

Artist’s talk and opening reception

Friday, February 21

  • 4 p.m.: Artist’s Talk with Chris Linder, Artist and Senior Fellow, International League of Conservation Photographers (Center for Art and Dance 305)
  • 5–6:30 p.m.: Opening Reception, Flaten Art Museum

Volunteers from the Cannon River Watershed Partnership monitor local river health, and will be present at the opening to discuss how their work relates to global river monitoring initiatives. St. Olaf students who have done research in local Rice Creek and the featured Kolyma watershed will also be present.


Tuesday, February 25

  • 4 p.m.: Unnatural Representations: Photography and Nature, David Little, Curator of Photography and New Media, Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Center for Art and Dance 305)

One popular story of photography and nature begins, rather oddly, with a pencil: William Henry Fox Talbot’s Pencil of Nature, the first commercially published book to use photographs as illustrations. The story gets more strange as photographers attempt to use the medium to represent the complexity of nature. This lecture will discuss a selection of key encounters involving photography and nature through the works of Anna Atkins, William Henry Fox Talbot, Ansel Adams, Trevor Paglen, Thomas Ruff, and Rinko Kawauchi, among others.

Museum closed for Spring Break: March 22–30