Award-winning Yellowstone photographer and documentary filmmaker Brad Orsted’s seven-year search for refuge and redemption in America’s greatest wilderness.
THROUGH THE WILDERNESS:
My Journey of Redemption and Healing in the American Wild
by Brad Orsted
St. Martin’s Press, June 2023
(via The Rights Factory)
When Brad Orsted’s fifteen-month-old daughter, Marley, died mysteriously at the home of Brad’s mother, he descended into madness. Blaming himself, he plunged into an abyss of grief, guilt, and self-recrimination, fueled by prescription drugs and alcohol. He planned his suicide as his wife, Stacey, searched for a new beginning. She finally found a job in Yellowstone National Park and, with their daughters, Mazzy and Chloe, the pair fled Michigan, looking for refuge and redemption in the 2.2 million acres of glorious American wilderness.
THROUGH THE WILDERNESS begins in Yellowstone, five months after the family’s arrival in 2012, when, in an alcoholic haze, Brad stumbled into a field of sage and survived a face-to-face encounter with an adult male grizzly bear. For the first time in almost two years, he realized he wanted to live―he just didn’t know how.
Desperate for help, Brad invited himself to a Crow sweat lodge ceremony, where an elder told him it was time to stop grieving. The elder’s words started Brad on a journey towards sobriety and inner peace, only possible because of lessons he learned in the wild, his new job as a wildlife photographer and filmmaker, and two orphan grizzly cubs who carried him back home and taught him how to live again.
Brad’s ten-year odyssey is about finding the wild inside the human heart. It is a journey of the spirit― a journey to forgiveness and sobriety, to love and life, to memory, and ultimately, to Marley.
Brad Orsted’s instinct for storytelling started early when someone gave him a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye camera as a child. Decades later Brad’s passion for wildlife cinematography and photography would not only earn him work with top networks like: Nat Geo Wild, The BBC, PBS, Nature, and The Smithsonian Channel, but also become part of his recovery after the tragic death of his daughter, Marley. Brad now resides in Paradise Valley, Montana, where he is hard at work on his second book and his wilderness therapy programs also called, Through the Wilderness. Brad’s film with Jeff Bridges and Doug Peacock, “The Beast of Our Time” recently won Best Environmental Film Award at the prestigious L.A. Doc Film Festival. A second film is in the making.