Posts tagged ‘get involved’

The Captive Project, by Gaston Lacombe

Sea turtle in aquarium window

When I presented my project on rewilding at the recent San Diego NANPA Summit, it was a Lightning Talk, so I only had six minutes to address the audience. I did not have time to explain a bit more about why I started a photo project about releasing animals back into the wild. It stems in part from spending years working on another project, which deals with less fortunate animals living in captivity. After photographing animals who had lost all freedom, I felt the need to experience animals returning to nature. But still, the project I call “Captive” is a quest I feel passionate about, especially as I have seen my photos play an integral role in the current public discourse over reforming and rethinking zoos.

Burrowing Owl in cage

Since 2009, through “Captive,” I have been taking a critical look at the living conditions of animals in zoos all around the world. At the moment, I have gathered photos from about 60 zoos (I have lost count), in 11 countries, on 5 continents, and I keep adding to the collection whenever I get the chance. The main goal is to invite the viewer to reflect on what happens when we use animals as objects of display and entertainment. It’s something that we often forget when visiting zoos. We get distracted by the cuteness, the fuzziness, or the search for the elusive hidden animal, and we fail to stop and take a look at the habitat in which we keep these beings for our pleasure. Human vision is selective, so freezing a scene through photography allows the viewer to notice things in these animal enclosures that we would usually glance over.


No matter if I am visiting some of the “best” zoos in the world, or rusty old road-side attractions, and no matter if I am in the so-called developed world, or in developing countries, I always find animals living in deplorable conditions. Everywhere, cement enclosures are the norm, with little or no access to vegetation, fresh water or even daylight. Most animals never see any signs of nature unless it is through the idyllic scenes painted on the walls. Recently, many zoos have added conservation, preservation and education to their missions, which I applaud. But still, these are the rare exceptions, and quality of life is still something that eludes the vast majority of captive animals worldwide.

Tiger in zoo enclosure

I’ve been very fortunate to see this series take off and get noticed by a wide public. It has lead to 28 legitimate publications (and many more illegitimate ones), TV appearances, as well as a few exhibits. My high point up to now has been seeing one of my photos being used as a rallying call to save a highly distressed polar bear in Mendoza, Argentina. There also have been talks of creating a book from my “Captive” series, but I still need to do a bit more work before that can happen.

Polar Bear in zoo enclosure

Currently, maybe because of a slight fatigue caused by the negativism often depicted in these images, I am hoping to supplement this series with a “Beyond Captive” addendum. It’s clear to me that zoos and aquariums will always exist. There is a demand for them, they make money, and like it or not, for many people, it’s the only exposure they will ever get to animals beyond the barnyard. So what can be the 21st century solution for captive animals? What are the innovative ways to reform and rethink zoos? These are questions I am interesting in exploring, and using my camera to find answers. I feel that conservation photography at its best is not just about exposing the problems, but also seeking and documenting solutions that can better the situation.

Cotton-top Tamatin

I am currently looking for funding and support to undertake this “Beyond Captive” project. If you have ideas or suggestions, feel free to contact me at Thank you!


Gaston Lacombe is a photographer based in Washington, D.C., specializing in documentary and conservation projects. Most of his work deals with the relationships between humans and animals, and humans and nature.

Gaston has worked on six continents, including a residency in Antarctica. His photos and articles have appeared in numerous publications in North America and Europe, and he is the recipient of multiple international photography prizes. His photos have been shown in galleries and museums in Europe, South America and North America, including at the Smithsonian Institute. He regularly lectures on photography, and on his projects, around the world.

Gaston is also the Communications Coordinator for the International League of Conservation Photographers, where he helps coordinate conservation expeditions with some of the world’s top photographers.




Help Make NANPA a Better Organization



Please fill out the NANPA Annual Survey!

Each year we survey all NANPA members and stakeholders in order to get their feedback and understand how they feel about key issues. The survey results are used by the Board, Staff and Committees to evaluate our progress and set direction for NANPA.

Your feedback is important to us and we’d like your participation in the NANPA Annual Survey Please use the following link to start the survey:
It’s important to have input from the greater nature photography community, so we do want feedback from both members and non-members. All feedback is confidential and only presented in summary form without specific attribution.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Executive Director, Susan Day ( or Membership Coordinator, Teresa Ransdell (

The survey will take 10-15 minutes of your time. In advance, thank you for your participation.

Volunteers of NANPA: Jamie Konarski Davidson

© Carter Frutiger

© Carter Frutiger

Jamie Konarski Davidson is a freelance outdoor and nature photographer with a passion for capturing intimate details of nature and landscapes. From tiny creatures and flowers to rural and grand landscapes, Jamie connects with simple beauty as well as all things old and fading. She embraces creative techniques that include color, infrared and black and white. Through New Life Photos, Jamie leads workshops in the Southeast, including North and South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia. To learn more, visit

What is your “day” job?

I have a blend of jobs that connect various aspects of photography. New Life Photos is my photography business in which I lead workshops, present programs, and market my work through exhibits and art shows. I am also part of the ASAP Photo & Camera team in Greenville, North Carolina, where I coordinate classes and special events, social media/marketing, purchasing and sales. The best part of what I’m doing now is that I am able to share my passion for photography and nature with teaching and encouraging others in their photography ventures. Read the rest of this entry »

Be ALIVE on Nature Photography Day!

How does nature photography awaken 23 top pros to the experience of being ALIVE?

By Paul Hassell, Founder of ALIVE Photo and Owner of Light Finds

ALIVE Photo – preview from Light Finds on Vimeo.


Nine years ago my life was irreversibly altered when I attended the NANPA Summit in Charlotte as a college scholarship recipient. My quiet dream was given breath and fanned into flame. It is the friendships I’ve formed with other NANPA photographers that have most influenced me on my path to becoming a pro nature photographer. In this community I have found continual inspiration, and I created ALIVE Photo to offer the public a taste of these rich friendships.

In a world of 24/7 social chatter via glowing screens we cradle with care, it is easier than ever to be distracted from total immersion in the solitude and power of wilderness. It’s easier than ever to lose focus on why we are even living this wild dream as nature photographers in the first place. In light of that, my interviews with these 23+ pro outdoor photographers explore the “why.” “Why do you do it?” “In what ways does photography personally affect your life?” “How does photography awaken you to the experience of being alive?”

For me, it was important to start with why. I could have asked these talented pros how they do the work they do. I could have asked what gear they use or what their secrets are for success. But I would not have touched the heart. ALIVE Photo is a celebration-song exploding from the hearts of those whose lives are captivated by the unquenchable pursuit of great light.

Some of the amazing photographers featured on ALIVE Photo!

Some of the amazing photographers featured on ALIVE Photo!

We need not incessantly contemplate our navels. It’s okay simply to play. But we would be wise to pause occasionally and reflect on what a life-changing gift it is to be one who photographs nature.

I hope that these simple interviews serve as a reminder to each of us about why we do this. It’s a radical gift to live in this present age, to have a camera, to have wilderness and to have a space where we can be transformed. Let’s celebrate Nature Photography Day on June 15th and give thanks for the experience of being alive.

Listen in as Rob Sheppard speaks on connection, Clay Bolt on seeing with fresh eyes, Carl Battreall on yearning to be remote and wild, and Amy Gulick on her life-long passion for storytelling. Next week you’ll hear from the ever-hilarious Joe and Mary Ann McDonald, and the week after that the beloved and contemplative Dewitt Jones. Sign up with your email address on the right column of the blog and be the first to know about our next pro.

ALIVE Photo website - square

VOLUNTEERS OF NANPA: Cindy Miller Hopkins

Cindy Miller Hopkins is a full-time travel and wildlife photographer. Her images can be seen on the pages of hundreds of textbooks, travel brochures, calendars and other consumer products, as well as U.S. and international magazines. Her freelance, workshop and assignment career has taken her to seven continents and more than 140 countries. Cindy is a long-time member of the American Society of Picture Professionals and, currently, co-president of the NANPA Foundation Board. When she’s not traveling (which isn’t often) she lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Norway camera lg

© Cindy Miller Hopkins

What is your “day” job?
I’m a full- time stock and assignment photographer specializing in travel, nature and cultural imagery. An average year for me includes over 175 days of travel with about 60 percent assignment work and 40 percent freelance. I also teach photo workshops on small expedition-style cruise ships, and I’ve led a few photo tours for the NANPA Foundation. Read the rest of this entry »


BarbThree years ago, Barbara Adams retired from a 35-year career in the Canadian government where she was executive director of a Science Outreach Secretariat in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.  Throughout her career, she worked for departments and cabinet members doing communications related to natural resources, such as minerals, energy, fisheries and oceans.  NANPA has benefited from Barbara’s experience through her involvement in committees and Summits. Read the rest of this entry »


Shirley Nuhn playing the piano at the recent 2013 NANPA Summit in Jacksonville.

Shirley Nuhn playing the piano at the recent 2013 NANPA Summit in Jacksonville.

Volunteers of NANPA: Shirley Nuhn

Shirley Nuhn is a lifetime member of NANPA. Lifetime memberships are bestowed on recipients of Photographer of the Year and Lifetime Achievement awards as well as on past presidents and their spouses (if members during the presidency).  Shirley was the first chairperson of NANPA’s History Committee and instrumental in its structure and development. Read the rest of this entry »


Kathy Adams Clark, (c) Jon Holloway

Kathy Adams Clark, (c) Jon Holloway

Kathy Adams Clark is a professional nature photographer who runs the stock photo agency KAC Productions. Her photography has been published in many magazines, books and calendars, including six books she coauthored with her husband Gary Clark; the latest being Portrait of Houston (Farcountry Press, 2012), which was reviewed in “Bits & Pixels” in the Spring 2013 issue of Currents. She and Gary also produce a “Nature” column in the Houston Chronicle. Read the rest of this entry »

NANPA VOLUNTEER: Richard Halperin

halperin-portraitNANPA’s executive director Susan Day says NANPA would not be as successful without Richard Halperin’s professional leadership and sharp legal mind. “He is a consultant at NANPA and NANPA Foundation board meetings,” says Susan. “Richard shares his editing and public speaking skills for NANPA’s benefit, and he spends countless hours on committees. He is an advocate for professional nature photographers and NANPA’s liaison with the photo industry on litigation (ASMP, PACA, PPA).” Here’s the eNews interview with Richard Halperin.

What is your “day job?”

I’m a partner in a New York law firm. My practice mostly involves tax law, including a lot of cross-border issues, estate planning, intellectual property and art law.

What committees have you served on, when, and what positions have you assumed?

I’ve been on the Finance Committee and the Executive Committee and now serve as chair of the Nominations Committee. I’ve served as a board member, as treasurer and as president. Read the rest of this entry »


Lukes_PortraitMark Lukes is the founder and president of Fine Print Imaging, a printing company specializing in printing for fine artists and photographers.

What NANPA committees have you served on, when, and what positions have you assumed?

I was the first NANPA board president, from 1994 -96, and the first NANPA Foundation president. I’ve served on numerous committees, including the Environment and History Committees, and I chaired the Fine Art Exhibit and College Scholarship committees. Read the rest of this entry »

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