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Photographer's wildlife book to benefit animals

Nathan Baker • Mar 4, 2020 at 8:51 PM

A Johnson City photographer’s book of wildlife photography will help protect the animals he’s admired and used as subjects in some of his best shots.

Proceeds from the sale of Tom Raymond’s self-published coffee table book “Witness to Wildlife” will go to environmental organization WildAid, which combats poaching by targeting poachers and demand for wildlife products.

Raymond said he gained an appreciation for the animal kingdom through his two careers, medicine and photography, the latter of which saw him through four African safaris.

The photo book includes images captured on those safaris in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Kenya and Tanzania. Raymond was guided on those African adventures by Tony Reumerman, whom Raymond called “the closest thing to a living Crocodile Dundee on Earth.”

It was his wife, Cynthia Reynolds, who convinced him to go on his first safari in 2004, and he was captivated by the wild animals and environment.

“We share a love of animal life and a concern for conservation and protection of endangered species,” Raymond said. “That concern bleeds over into a lot of other things, like climate change, etc.”

He moved to the Tri-Cities for a job as an assistant professor for the first class of East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine in 1978. Nine years later, he resigned from full-time academia to open a commercial photo studio, Fresh Air Photo.

Over a 30-year career, Raymond’s photography was printed on hundreds of national magazine covers, was featured in National Geographic and was used for a number of advertisements. In 1991, he signed a contract with the DuPont Company to document the career of NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, a 19-year job.

Raymond closed his studio in 2017, but continues to shoot photos for stock images and pro bono for ETSU sports teams.

Copies of “Witness to Wildlife” cost $175 each, of which Raymond said $50 will be donated to WildAid and the rest will cover printing costs. A print of one of the signature images from the book will be sold at an upcoming auction for WildAid.

Raymond said he was inspired to publish the book by fellow photographer David Yarrow, who raised more than $2 million for WildAid with his own published photography collection.

To inquire about purchasing a copy of “Witness to Wildlife,” email Raymond at tom@freshairphoto.com.