Monday, 21. July 2008
Youthful Eyes. Photography at Work. Hope for Conservation.

NEW Workshop in Development!!!

Conservation By Youth

Destination: Namibia

Mission:

Conservation By Youth aims to promote conservation practice and advocacy for the preservation of our natural and
cultural resources by youth in global communities through the artistic use of photography and education.

In workshop based scenarios youth are taught to use cameras to document conservation issues in their local areas.

In each place we visit, Conservation By Youth workshops focus on conservation themes that are relevant to the locale. For example, in El Salvador, students and instructors focused the workshop and their photographic pursuits in the areas of mangrove ecology, deforestation, and marine biology.

To learn more about Conservation By Youth in Namibia and the partnership with Kiss-of-Light get in touch with:

Christian Goltz

and/or

Neil Osborne at: neophoto@mac.com

Saturday, 16. February 2008
What is Conservation Photography?

"Conservation is about people and the animals", read on....

Several descriptions of the term ‘conservation photography’ have been published (Gulick 2005; Mittermeier 2005; Ward, Jr. 2004), however the term currently eludes a clear definition. ‘Conservation photography’ is born out of purpose and may showcase the vanishing beauty of our planet and its disappearing spirit, or ‘conservation photography’ may be described as the result of photographic talent combined with environmental understanding and conservation commitment (Mittermeier 2005). Alternately, a ‘conservation photographer’ may be identified if their imagery has a direct influence on the establishment of protected areas (Ward, Jr. 2004). Despite a clear understanding, early and present day practitioners of this genre of photography have made convincing efforts to identify the value and purpose of ‘conservation photography’ (Cahn & Ketchum 1981; Quammen 2001).

So how might ‘conservation photography’ be defined?

More recently, the newly formed International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP), a consortium of some of the best nature and wildlife photographers in the world that share insight and disseminate information about conservation photography have described this genre of photography as:

".....the furthering of environmental and cultural conservation through ethical photography."

In addition, the ILCP address the following objectives:

• To use the power of photography to help educate the world community and to further conservation goals.

• To create compelling and informed images and to develop visually based campaigns to promote conservation issues.

• To facilitate the connection of photography with environmental, scientific, cultural media, governmental, religious and educational resources.

• To be a virtual clearinghouse of information for members.

• To develop a code of conduct for photographers.

• To promote business practices that demand truth in and high ethical standards in captioning and manipulation.

• To encourage conservation education

• To encourage an ethnically and geographically diverse membership.

• To attract fellowships and grants to support young photographers or photographers with innovative ideas to promote conservation.

As the advancement of this emerging genre becomes more available in publications it is my hope we can also include the following thoughts as relevant to conservation photography:

• Conservation Photography first and foremost must address both the positive and negatives aspects of any conservation issue.

I believe editors and the public need to begin to question the objectivity of the imagery presented in both print and web mediums. The traditional sense of journalism suggests these principals are met often however, this is not always the case.

• Conservation Photography must present a clear understanding of ‘sense of place’.

That is, a viewer of an image or series of images used for conservation photography must be aware of the environment in which a species might inhabit. The idea of ecosystem management should be a goal for conservation photographers to present in their work. Thinking is these terms allows us to begin to consider which image(s) are best suited for particular conservation issues so the presentation of the image or series of images allows viewers to appreciate where conservation must take place.

• Conservation Photography needs to focus on ALL environments; Conservation Photography needs to focus on ALL wildlife.

While the rainforest and the oceans continue to be highlighted in images for conservation and charismatic species such as the elephant and the eagle are used to represent endangered wildlife of an area it is equally important to recognize the unfamiliar places and "ugly small animals" whose role in conservation practices tend to be overlooked and presented less. Conservation photographers should not choose stories based on the species or place they visit but instead on the conservation issue that is important to tell.

• Conservation Photography needs to be about people. "Conservation is about people and the animals".

This genre of photography not only needs to share imagery on the environment and species of all genera but should include the stories of the local community members who live in the areas where the imagery is produced. Stories of the scientists and academics involved in the practice of conservation should also be highlighted. People care about other people. This detail needs to be recognized within work that depicts animals or landscapes for the people who exist in and with their surroundings are important for conservation.

• Conservation Photography needs to be recognized as a profession and separate genre from wildlife and nature photography.

As the digital era of photography places a camera in the hands of every traveler or adventurer the availability of imagery from special environments and/or of special species becomes more common. For editors of publications and conservationists this might seem as a benefit to the collective cause but the saturation of imagery from non-professionals also tends to lower the aesthetic quality of available images and also the diversity of images out there. Conservation photographers acquire technical know how, geographic and ecological knowledge of their subjects, appropriate guides and permits, and access to areas off limits to amateurs because of their experience. This recipe certainly permits the production of photographic work that lend itself more useful for the documentation of a conservation issue.

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