Shive’s experience on the Midway Atoll in the North Pacific in particular stands out to him. There, with flights departing only every two weeks, he had time to slow down and observe intimate moments on the island. “Midway was just a life-changing experience,” he adds. “It’s so unlike anything I had ever experienced.” His photographs of the islands are transporting, as are so many of his images of our refuges and the wildlife that make their home within them.

Initially, Shive envisioned Refuge as a way to raise awareness about one of the largest protected land and water systems in the world, and as a tool to connect people to places and animals they may not know much about. But the political landscape in this country changed as he was working on the project, and with it, the protections afforded many of these remote outposts have eroded. Which is why he also hopes the book will allow readers “to make informed decisions about what we want this country to be known for.”

Now that we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, the potential impact of the book has evolved even further. As he says, “We have an opportunity, I think, amidst all this tragedy, to return to nature and reassess and revalue what is important in our lives, and what we really need.”