Emmet Gowin (born 1941) is an American photographer. He first gained attention in the 1970s with his intimate portraits of his wife, Edith, and her family. Later he turned his attention to the landscapes of the American West, taking aerial photographs of places that had been changed by humans or nature, including the Hanford Site, Mount St. Helens, and the Nevada Test Site. Gowin taught at Princeton University for 25 years.
Gowin was born in Danville, Virginia. His father, Emmet Sr., was a Methodist minister and his Quaker mother played the organ in church. When he was two his family moved to Chincoteague Island, where he spent much of his free time in the marshes around their home. At about age 12 his family moved back to Danville, where Gowin first showed an interest in art by taking up drawing. When he was 16 he saw an Ansel Adams photograph of a burnt tree with a young bud growing from the stump. This inspired him to go into the woods near his home and draw from nature. Later, he applied what he learned from his early years wandering in the woods and marshes to his photography. A student of his said “Photography, with Emmet, became the study of everything.”