Why conservation photography is so important

There is no denying the beauty and power of nature, and the concerns about pollution, global warming and the overall destruction of nature have brought the issue of conservation into focus. Natural conservation has been on the minds of people for most of time, but just in the last few decades has it really gained any steam. Once upon a time, nature conservation was seen as something for hippies are tree huggers, who were out of touch with the demands of the world (i.e. the need for natural resources like oil, coals and minerals, the need for jobs created by the extraction of those natural resources, and the dependence of capitalist system has on these needs and jobs.) But, now, eco conservation is pretty mainstream.

Scientists and politicians (well, maybe just Democrats) have largely acknowledged the fact that eco conservation is crucial to the future of our world and our need to live sustainably within it. One example of this can be seen in President Barack Obama’s decision to cancel the Keystone pipeline project, which would have brought oil from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada all the way across the United States for refining in Texas. One thing that has brought eco conservation to the forefront of the national discussion, has been conservation photography.

What is conservation photography?
Most people already know this answer without even realizing it. If you are familiar with the work of famed photographer Ansel Adams, then you already know what conservation photography is. It is when photographers enter a natural environment with the goal of educating and informing people about the state of nature, and the dangers that come with human intervention into the natural world. It is about raising awareness, and hopefully changing minds and attitudes about nature in the process. In many ways it is akin to documentary filmmaking, but with the still image telling the story, rather than the moving image.

Why conservation photography is important
There are many reason why conservation photography is important, but the main important comes in the message that the photo is trying to get across. There is no doubt that conservation photography is an art in itself, and should be appreciated as such, but it has always been more about the message that the photographer is trying to get across with the image. The medium is the message in the case of conservation photography- and that message is to help the natural environment, rather than hurt it. There are a million different messages that can be communicated with conservation photography, but they all essentially boil down to that one, very powerful message- that humans are destroying the environment, and have been for generations, and something needs to be done to stop it from happening in the future. That is why conservation photography is so important in our modern society.

Terrence is an addicted traveler. He is currently writing from santa clarita ca.

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