By Cristina Mittermeier
The concept of conservation photography was first proposed out of the need to make a distinction between the creation of images for the sake of photography, and the creation of images to serve the purpose of conserving nature.
Conservation photography showcases both the beauty of our planet and its vanishing spirit, and represents the “pictorial voice” used by many organizations and corporations to further their messages about sustainability. Nature photography, documentary photography, and photojournalism are all part of conservation photography.
The creation of images that inspire and move people to change behaviors and take action requires an understanding of the issues. Anyone can purchase the equipment, travel to interesting regions and learn the secrets of wildlife behavior. What may not be purchased is the empathy and sense of urgency necessary to create awe-inspiring images that move people to take the necessary actions that ensure that the wild world persists. Photographic talent, when combined with environmental concern and scientific understanding and the ability to tell a story, make a fine recipe for conservation photography.
With the exception of the most technical, peer-reviewed scientific journals, photographs are the most necessary and constant element of conservation communications. Be it to document, demonstrate, compare, or inspire, images are an indispensable element of the conservation toolbox. Beyond inspiration, the critical importance of photography lies in its ability to bear witness, to build constituencies of support or opposition to environmental challenges, and to create political pressure that encourages change. The job of the photographer is to shine a light on issues and matters that would otherwise remain invisible. Photography is essential in the crafting and delivery of messages, and high quality, ethically-produced imagery cannot be underestimated.
Por el Planeta is a new Wildlife, Nature & Conservation Photo Competition that wishes to recognize the dedication, skill, and talent of those photographers who strive to create images that infuse society with understanding and care for our shared natural heritage. #PlanetaPhoto is currently open for entries. More than just a contest, it’s a global effort to make a change for the planet. I invite you to visit the website porelplanetaphoto.com for more information and to enter. Registration ends on the 27th of March!