Are we all about pretty pictures? This is a question that has been asked many times and in many forums to define the work that conservation photographers do. The real question however, is, do we want to focus on inspiring people, or do we aim to shock them?
There is a constant tension in finding the right balance between images that seduce and move and those that horrify. I believe that finding the right mix means the difference between entertaining people and moving them to action.
A carefully edited mix of images, woven into a compelling story, can show both the beauty of what we stand to lose as well as the devastation that our planet’s ecosystems are enduring all around the world. Most importantly, if we do our jobs right, photography can help us connect the dots to show the impacts that this loss has on human societies, and especially on the most vulnerable among us.
The ways in which the iLCP membership continues to expand and evolve, is a clear reflection of this philosophy. Although we will always need to rely on beautiful imagery to win and maintain the attention of our audience, we are also committed to working with photographers who focus their efforts on serious photojournalism. Perhaps the most important aspect of our work, is that regardless of whether images are beautiful or disturbing, they should be truthful and compelling. Our most valuable currency continues to be credibility; the perception by the public that what we are showing is a true reflection of reality.
Creating beautiful images that depict some of the most devastating and tragic losses our planet’s ecosystems are suffering is the ideal that compels the work of conservation photographers; succeeding in propelling law-makers, donors, government officials, corporations and society at large, is our ultimate mission.
Executive Director, iLCP
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