Future perspectives of photography and ecology
In 2012, a very interesting Chilean film called “No.” was released. This is a report on the tactics of advertising used during the 1988 referendum, when Chileans decided whether dictator Augusto Pinochet should stay in power. Pinochet was known for his ruthlessness and cruelty, and by his orders tens of thousands of Chileans were tortured and more than 3,000 people were killed (according to official data). The film has a very interesting look at communication, which is still underestimated; shows how ineffective was the campaign against Pinochet, which relied only on the graphic images of his atrocities and the terrible statistics on death, imprisonment and censorship. It was too unpleasant for an ordinary citizen, who did not want such pictures to be shown on television, to cause negative feelings and unwanted emotions. And then one person had the idea to try the opposite: to show all the good things that would be in a country without Pinochet. He focused the campaign on positive feelings of inspiration and hope. And they won.
When it comes to a specific goal – to protect the environment, photography (like other means) can be used in more or less efficient ways. Many environmentalists still rely on “classic feed” – pictures of starving polar bears, huge open-air garbage containers, dead whales with stomachs full of plastic, or islands of garbage that swim in the middle of the ocean. Everything is great, because these are very powerful images … except for the fact that they often remain just a picture in the laptop of the average Greenpeace employee, because they carry too much “negative feelings”.
Not everyone has the same vital commitment to environmental protection as a Greenpeace activist (or other similar organization), or a desire to think about all the tragedies of the earth at once, and generate thoughts into action. Rationale: I saw an image of a turtle choking on a straw → I will no longer use straws → now I begin to take care of the environment – not as linear as it seems.
But what if you use photography to attract people to worship nature, to see it through the lens of a photographer, to teach people to look at nature and to see wonders and beauty that deserve respect and protection?
Some may call this innovative pursuit, ecotourism, or even photo-ecotourism. Indeed, ecotourism shows surprisingly consistently good results, making the ecology sustainable and profitable.
The Brazilian Pantanal (Pantanal) is an amazing example of a place where local animals, including jaguars, which sometimes attack and kill livestock, are fiercely protected by locals because the local population thrives mainly on tourists who come from all over the country (and even the world) to see the lush Brazilian fauna. And photography plays an important role in this: Pantanal was first introduced to the country and the world through photographs that were posted on Instagram and National Geographic articles. In many respects, photography is a kind of postcard for nature conservation.
Photography is what drives people to discover all the important things in life. Photographers are engaged in eco-photography and urge people not only to follow themselves, but to explore the world around them, to study independently, to be engaged in photography. They help to explore increasingly isolated landscapes, obscure peoples and cultures. Many of those who have never used a camera before, begin to realize that photography is more than something that can be done with a selfie stick.