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C.C. Lockwood’s new book continues mission of saving Wild Louisiana

C.C. Lockwood’s new book continues mission of saving Wild Louisiana

What a nice Thanksgiving or Christmas treat it would be if Southside High School Class of 1967 graduate C.C. Lockwood could visit from Louisiana and show and tell us all about his latest book at the Fort Smith Public Library. He did that a few years ago with his lively, popular (so popular it's now out of print ) book about alligators, so maybe it can happen.

In his new book, Louisiana Wild, The Lands Restored and Protected by the Nature Conservancy, C.C continues his 44-year quest to help save and preserve the natural habitat of his adopted home state of Louisiana. To that end, C.C. has worked for years with the Nature Conservancy – a worldwide organization active in 51 countries to protect more than 1 million acres. He was commissioned by the organization to write and provide photography for his new book updating conservancy efforts in Louisiana.

The new book's launch party was held in Baton Rouge last month at the Manship Theater Shaw Center for the Arts. C.C. is heavily engaged for book-signing events and appearances, as well as his own photo workshops. You can keep up with him on his website, cclockwood.com.

Photographs and a movie C.C. made of Louisiana's Atchafalaya River Basin Swamp between 1975 and 1977 helped convince the state's legislators, residents and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that the Atchafalaya Basin was too ecologically important to the rapidly vanishing Gulf Coast wetlands to be destroyed by the corps' plans to drain and channel the swamp.

Since his first book, Atchafalaya, America's Largest River Basin Swamp, was published in 1981, C.C.'s books, photos and films have won him international acclaim and honors, including the Sierra Club's Ansel Adams Award for outstanding conservation photography. Other awards include having one of his Atchafalaya photos – Flat Lake Sunset – chosen by the U.S. Postal service as the image for a 2002 issue of a first-class Forever Stamp commemorating the 200th anniversary of Louisiana statehood.

He has also been named a “Louisiana Legend” by the state's public broadcasting network.

His website lists all 14 of his books to date. Four are out of print, among them the very popular title, The Alligator Book, he introduced to a delighted, SRO crowd at the main Fort Smith Public Library in 2003, along with a very live, 5-foot alligator.

C.C. had only about a year to create his newest book and took the first photo for it in July 2013, he told me during a brief phone call last month.

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That first photo was of a purple cone flower, which he describes as “a unique flower of Louisiana's swamps and marshes.”

Within the next year he spent taking all the photos included in the new book, he says he revisited that same purple cone flower, and all the rest of the individual photo subjects appearing in the book, more than 60 times.

Taking multiple shots of the same subjects in different seasons, weather conditions and times of the day – during the time he has to film them – is one of C.C.'s trademarks for his award-winning photography.

C.C.'s new book is dedicated to his wife, Sue, his “sidekick;” Sue's father, Boney Richardson; and his dad, Dr. Frank Lockwood of Fort Smith.

Dr. Lockwood is, of course, very proud of C.C. and his many awards and accomplishments.

“He's such a perfectionist,” Dr. Lockwood told me when I phoned him for a comment about his son's new book. When I couldn't help but ask if he thought C.C. may have inherited that trait from his dad, Dr. Lockwood paused and then admitted, “I think so – I hope so.”

While C.C. admits he "specializes in swamps and marshes," he encourages all people to help create a clean earth and conserve natural resources. One of his missions in Louisiana is trying to help save what's left of the state's cypress and long leaf pine forests.

C.C.'s photography is a major component in his ongoing conservation efforts, which include photography workshops he begins with indoor classes for his students before moving them into the nearby environments he loves and works to preserve. His environmental knowledge informs his beautiful, insightful photographs that continue to prove they have the power to cause humans to reconsider and halt the destruction of our environment and all the creatures, waters and plants within it.

This article appears in the October 2015 issue of Entertainment Fort Smith Magazine.

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