The most basic definition of conservation photography is using photography to advocate for conservation causes. But isn’t that just landscape, nature, or wildlife photography? It can be but conservation photography focuses more on educating and changing behaviors or taking action.
When most people think about conservation they think of saving the rainforest. Or helping an endangered animal but it is much deeper than that.
We need to take care of the humans too.
You may be wondering what social issues and conservation have to do with each other. A lot. And we are only just starting to really look at the intersection of these issues. Marginalized individuals are more likely to suffer because of climate change. How? Drought. Extreme weather. Food insecurity. Loss of land. Loss of biodiversity. Spread of disease. Everyone is affected by climate change but those of us in rich nations, with money, have the resources to better deal with issues.
In poor and/or minority neighborhoods you are more likely to see power plants, toxic waste disposal sites, and oil refineries. Many in these neighborhoods end up sick or dying because of their exposure to these things. John Oliver recently covered a few of these issues on his show. You can watch the clip here.
How does photography help conservation causes?
Photography can open people’s eyes to what is going on around the world. People remember photos. They don’t always remember a caption or article. If someone said, remember that photo of the little girl in Hiroshima? You probably can see that in your mind, it’s impactful.
Helping to tell others’ stories to effect change is vital.
Conservation photography can help start the conversation. It can shock us into working for change. But we have to be willing to really see, to read the caption on that image or the article that accompanies it. Often we blindly scroll social media and like or heart photos that pop up. How often do you take the time to actually read the caption? How often do you take a moment to really reflect on what you’re seeing?
We need to slow down, open our eyes, and step up for the earth.
Will you take the time to really read what photographers are telling you on Instagram or will you keep blindly scrolling? Will you find ways you can help with conservation cause you truly care about? You don’t need to spend money to help. You can volunteer if you have time. You can read their newsletters, and blogs and share them online. Maybe they are looking for donated items.
Take a moment to do something today. It can be as simple as retweeting an article.
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