Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Stories of the Obscure

You may not have heard, but 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity.  That's why I am making a special effort this year to support the work of Arkive -  a group in the UK that is creating an online educational database of endangered species.  For several years, I have provided them pictures - at no charge -  of many rare and endangered species from my collection.  They are still looking hard to find pictures of many species that are not big and sexy enough - unlike, say,  tigers and polar bears - to attract photographers.  
To find out more, go to ARKIVE.
 Photographers have a significant role to play in the conservation of vanishing species, especially animals whose stories are rarely, if ever, told.  Case in point : this little shrimp -- confined to a single tidepool, on a single island in the mid-Atlantic -- had never been photographed before, and gave conservationists a vital tool in trying to protect it.   A simple picture but an important one, which gives me considerable satisfaction.  
This is a big subject , one that I will return to in future.  I simply want to encourage photographers to go beyond shooting the same handful of popular well-known animals - and start looking for animals whose stories are still untold.  There is almost certainly an endangered species in your neighborhood;  if you can get the best pictures ever taken of that animal - obscure or familiar - you could make a real impact in ensuring its survival.  That is photography's special power. 

1 comment:

  1. You are so right about making sure we photograph all creatures GREAT & SMALL. Even before I read your blog I started taking pictures of weird & ugly critters that I perhaps didn't even like. Funny, once you get a great shot you can easily learn to love the subject. Vultures always gave me the creeps. In a way they still do. But somehow I could not pass up a chance to photograph them tearing apart the dead body of an alligator last week while visiting the Big Cypress National Preserve. Now I can add both vulture species (Black & Turkey)to my growing arsenal of photos despite the fact that they are definitely not CUTE OR CUDDLY! So, thanks for the scoop on ARKIVE. What a great idea! By the way, I'm quite sure I have some SEXY photos of many LEMUR SPECIES!