There is no question that part of the glue that holds societies together and that helps us understand our place in the planetary puzzle is the art of story-telling. The proverbial “campfire” around which stories of our common ancestry, the challenges we face, and the ideas we share, have, generation to generation, been passed through stories. Today’s technology allows us to gather around the global campfire in new and meaningful ways and skilled artists and story tellers have become key players to move the conservation agenda by helping ‘connect the dots’.
Translating science and complex conservation priorities into compelling messages that are accessible to larger audiences and decision-makers is an imperative that more and more conservation organizations are taking seriously, both in their strategy and in their budget. Using effective communications, strong visuals and interesting graphics is fast becoming an integral part of the conservation toolbox. The skills of photographers, film-makers, writers and other creative artists will be instrumental to help tell the story of how our planet succeeded in turning the tide, or of how we failed.
The story is not over yet.
International League of Conservation Photographers
Art is in Haridwar, India, photographing the Kumbh Mela. Celebrated every three years in four different holy locations, the Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage. The Ganges River enters the vast Indian plain at Haridwar. In the past, Art has photographed the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, and he says this is a completely different experience. It is a smaller area and much more congested. Photography may be more difficult, but it is no less rewarding!
“I have long admired Art Wolfe’s photography and the artistic strengths he brings to his images. Joining his photo tour to Myanmar, I expected to visit amazing locations and make some great photographs within the settings as chosen by Art and his assistant Gavriel. The reality far exceeded these expectations as Art and Gavriel’s skill in connecting with people, coupled with our guide’s expert knowledge of the places we visited, made every day exceptional. The beautiful images made all came while having a great time travelling together, eating delicious food, traveling easily (whether by van, boat, plane or hot air balloon) and staying in very comfortable accommodations.
What I did not anticipate, and what made this tour outstanding, was the openness with which Art shared his keen eye for composition, color and the extra elements added (or subtracted) that can elevate an image into something special. Both Art and Gavriel openly shared their methods of approaching every scene, the images they visualized making and then the steps they took to create them. The conversations while on location and constructive critiques of images made by the group, has made a tangible difference in my photography. Further, the clarity of my own vision has jumped forward as a direct result of Art’s mentorship. To share in Art’s thought process from imagining an idea through to realizing it as an image is an incredible opportunity for any photographer. I am already planning for my next tour with Art Wolfe’s team.”