Conservation photography is the art of moving minds and sensitizing people about the environment through photo stories. For conservation photography to be impactful, photographers work on causes that are very specific to habitats, species and subjects. These catalogued photos serve as prime material for internet activism, public awareness, raising funds and investigative journalism for legal proceedings.
Here are ten driven photographers, both professionals and aspirants, doing phenomenal work in the field of conservation:
1. Sandesh Kadur
Founder of Felis Creations, a media and visual arts company that focuses on creating content that inspires conservation, Sandesh Kadur has created films that have been shown on National Geographic, BBC, Discovery and Animal Planet. He is currently documenting the eastern Himalaya, an endangered system in critical need for conservation.
It took Sandesh over 15 years to capture the beauty and life of Sahayadris. His book on Sahayidris and documentary Sahayidris: Mountains of the Monsoon were part of the submission that convinced UNESCO to recognize the Western Ghats as a World Heritage site.
2. Octavio Aburto
Marine biologist and professional photographer, Octavio Aburto leads several research programmes and regional marine projects. His prime photography projects include saving the coral reefs of Cabo Pulmo, documenting the threats faced by deforestation and tourism in Yucatan in Mexico and prevention of pollution of The Chesapeake Bay of North Atlantic.
3. Paul Nicklen
Canadian biologist and photographer Paul Nicklen works towards the conservation of the Arctic ecosystem. As an assignment photographer Paul’s work focuses on the delicate relationship between healthy ecosystems and marine wildlife in polar environments.
4. Balan Madhavan
A committed photographer and conservationist, Balan is the founder of Madhavan Pillai Foundation for Conservation for spreading the message of conservation through art.
5. Cristina Mittermeier
She is the founder of Intentional League of Conservation Photographers. She has documented extensively on the communities and ecosystems affected by the construction of Bel Monte Dam in Brazil. From the popular to the scientific, her work has been featured in major magazines around the world including Nature’s Best and National Geographic Explorer.
6. Neil Osborne
An editor and conservation photographer for the Canadian Wildlife and Canadian Geographic magazines, Neil Osborne has contributed significantly towards conservation from protecting sea turtles and snake river salmon to enabling the Kayapó Indigenous people of Brazil to continue to protect 11-million hectares of their lands from deforestation.
7. Christian Zeigler
A tropical ecologist by training, Christian shares the extraordinary beauty and scientific fascination of tropical ecosystems with the general public and thereby raising awareness for their conservation. One of his significant expeditions is the Bioko Project which aimed to persuade local authorities and resident community impose a ban on primate hunting and provide more environmental protection in Bioko, Equatorial Guinea.
8. Kalyan Varma
A mechanical engineer by degree, Kalyan Varma is a naturalist and professional photographer working actively with Nature Conservation Foundation and VGKK (Institution empowering tribal communities). He also founded a community based non-profit eco-tourism project in BR Hills, Karnataka.
9. Alison Jones
Alison founded the non-profit project No Water No Life in which six case-study watersheds are chosen to illustrate current universal threats to freshwater systems and offer possibilities of sound management policies.
10. Connie Bransilver
Connie’s work in conservation photography spans mainly across Madagascar, Indonesia and UNESCO-Asia World Heritage Sites. She has contributed vastly to protecting biodiversity through Sadabe Project for protecting lemurs of Madagascar and extensively for protecting wild orchids of Florida.