World-renowned wildlife photographer Bob (Robert) Taylor died Thursday at the age of 73 at St. Boniface Hospital after a battle with cancer.
Taylor was best known during his 40-year career for his images of Manitoba polar bears, great grey owls and prairie bison. His early work included rare close-up images of polar bears along the Hudson Bay coastline, which assisted in the development of the tourist industry and tundra buggy tours in Churchill.
Some of his images were published in books such as The Manitoba Landscape-A Visual Symphony, The Edge of the Arctic: Churchill and the Hudson Bay Lowlands, The Great Gray Owl: On Silent Wings, and Manitoba: Seasons of Beauty.
Taylor received the Order of the Buffalo Hunt from Premier Greg Selinger nine days before he died.
"He did a lot in terms of fostering awareness of the natural wonders of Manitoba. That will be part of his legacy," said Ted Muir, Taylor's friend for more than 30 years after the two met through the Manitoba Naturalists Society.
"For those of us whom he touched through his photography or his unbelievable generosity in helping people in advancing natural-history causes, he will be missed."
Taylor, who made frequent donations of his time and photographs to various causes throughout his life, was known for always respecting the safety and integrity of his wildlife subjects.
"He clearly has left his mark and for that, we are all thankful. The world is a better place, and Manitoba is a better place to be, because of Bob Taylor," said Muir, who said Taylor was diagnosed about a year ago with colon cancer.
Born June 16, 1940, Taylor grew up in the Toronto area. He earned a degree in 1963 from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute with a major in science photography.
The early years of his working life were spent at the Saskatchewan Museum of Natural History and then the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature, where he was the photography department head for six years. He worked for a year with Manitoba Natural Resources as a wildlife extension specialist before his focus turned to his photography career and he opened a photography shop in downtown Winnipeg.
He ran workshops and was a guest lecturer/naturalist on international tours. Working with Frontier North Adventures, he led trips to Wager Bay to photograph polar bears in summer habitat, to Cambridge Bay to photograph muskox and to Igloolik to photograph walruses and bowhead whales. He travelled to Point Pelee National Park in southwestern Ontario for 51 consecutive springs to photograph migrating songbirds.
He had photographs published in numerous national and international magazines such as Life, Canadian Geographic, Reader's Digest, Equinox, International Wildlife, and Outdoor Photography Canada among others.
Taylor had been honoured with a fellowship in the Professional Photographers Association of Manitoba, a Master of Photographic Arts from the Professional Photographers of Canada and was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.
An accomplished carver, Taylor helped launch the Prairie Canada Carvers Association 27 years ago.