“Every minute I was there, I wanted to flee. I did not want to see this. Would I cut and run, or would I deal with the responsibility of being there with a camera”
This is a quote from James Nachtwey, one of the most celebrated war photographers of our time. Although he was referring to the horrors of photographing human carnage and the tremendous responsibility that photographers have to document the savagery of war and to bring back stories that we may not want to see but that we must see, the quote can easily be applied to the horrors of bearing witness to the devastation of our planet’s ecosystems and species.
“5000 gallons of oil spilled every day” is a phrase that may or may not mean much to many of us, but to see the cloud of oil slowly moving towards the shoreline and to see the anger and sadness on people’s faces as they say goodbye to livelihoods and beloved landscapes touches people on a different level. Whether we want to see the images or not, we are lucky that there are photojournalists on site covering issues that will impact us all.
As lovers of nature, most conservation photographers probably wish that they too could flee and not smell the smoke, be spared the slaughter, not be the last witness to the extinction of a plant or an animal, but just like our colleagues who document war, we too have a responsibility to be there with our cameras and share with the rest of the world images from the frontline of the “biodiversity war”.
International League of Conservation Photographers
To read the whole newsletter head to the iLCP’s website.