Being an Eco Photographer means reducing the environmental impact of every aspect of my business, and working with (ie. producing photos for) clients that have a positive impact on the environment.
I was trying to formulate an explanation as to why I’ve decided to be an “Eco Photographer” and what this actually means. Then one day three things happened to me and I became so impassioned that I did what anyone would do… I got on my soapbox (i.e. my personal Facebook wall) and shared what I was feeling with my friends and family. I received such an overwhelmingly supportive response that I decided to include my little story on this blog. It gives you an idea of how I live my personal life, which crosses over into my business life. So here it is:
I don’t often put unhappy things on Facebook but I feel the need to share this today It has 3 parts, and hopefully is inspiring:
1. James came home and told me, with a smile, that he had a song stuck in his head all day, the song of some beautiful girls from the Ashaninka tribe we stayed with by Ene River, in the Amazon. Translated, the chorus goes: “Ene River, please take care of me”.
2. At my exhibition of Amazon photos on the weekend, a man came up to me and said, “Did you hear about the Amazonian tribe that can’t drink their water because the oil company poisoned it?”. I said, “Things like that happen all the time in the Amazon… It’s unbelievable!”
3. I went for a walk at lunch (in Sydney) and a man was blowing leaves around the road with a petrol powered leaf blower. He wasn’t actually moving the leaves anywhere in particular, just wasting petrol.I am as much to blame as anyone else for the poisoned water that is making my friends in the Amazon sick. We all use the oil that is being drilled, which is killing the fish, the animals and sometimes the children. Every day I will do what I can to stop supporting the companies that knowingly let this happen. I have given up plastic almost completely, I walk/ride nearly everywhere I go and I try my best in every other way to reduce plastic and petrol consumption. Sorry to be grim, but I just wanted to share this because most people that I talk to about what happens in the Amazon, have no idea. It’s not widely publicised.The good news is that every one of us can make a positive difference. Every time you spend money you endorse what that company is doing…so spend wisely xx That’s all. Good night
My photos and I are being featured on fivepointfive.org and I think you should check it out, here. You’ll gain an insight into my project Portraits of The Disappearing Amazon, a 3 month journey which will changed my life. You can also get the background story on some of my favourite portraits from the project, and the beautiful people within them.
Five Point Five is about inspiring you to do those things that you will remember with satisfaction for the rest of your life. They are all about travel, lifestyle and making a positive difference in the world – 3 things that are really important to me too. The website offers information and mini documentaries on volunteering overseas, as well as travel resources and inspiration. So go get inspired…
It’s time to give another shout out to all the wonderful people who helped make my Amazon photo project dream come true.
In June 2012 I launched a crowdfunding campaign on Pozible.com to invite supporters to be part of my photo project to create Portraits of the Disappearing Amazon. The response was overwhelming and as a result I was able to spend two months visiting and photographing ten different tribes in the Amazon of Peru, an amazing experience which I will never forget.
This week I’m posting out the final Thank Yous to supporters of the project, including prints of the portraits I created in the jungle. I’m so looking forward to getting my hands on the Photo Books that I’ve had published as gifts for the major supporters, which are in the post to me right now. I can’t wait to hand them over in the next few days.
It was June 2012. I had a dream to travel into the depths of the Amazon and photograph tribes that I’d heard may disappear within my lifetime. If I didn’t follow my dream, perhaps no one would capture images of these people, whose cultures had fascinated me since I was a little girl. Perhaps no one would create a visual memory of their traditional way of life for the future generations to remember and appreciate.
I had no contacts and no leads, but something within me told me I could do it, and that I had to do it. I committed myself to the project and spent the following 2 months exploring the Amazon of Peru in search of tribes to photograph in their traditional dress to create a visual documentation of how life looks, or looked, for peoples whose traditional way of life is being slowly, or in many cases, rapidly forgotten.
I hope to return to the Amazon soon to continue encountering and photographing the vast and diverse tribal cultures that live within the mysterious jungle. This project turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Dreams are worth chasing.
Here is a tiny sample of the mountain of photographs I was fortunate to capture during my adventures. I hope you enjoy them. There are more on the way.
This elder woman from the Matses tribe is one of the last in her village to continue wearing facial piercings, a practice which she began as a young lady. The adornments originate from local palm trees, and the ink of her tattoo is made from the huito plant.
The feet of a Yagua elder. He has never worn shoes.
A young boy from the Bora tribe adorned with his tribe’s traditional face paint. In his village, traditional dress and body painting is now only worn on special occasions and for tourism.
This young Ashaninka girl lives deep within the Amazon. My camera may have been the first she ever saw. Her nose is pierced with cotton thread, with a jewel hanging. All women in the village paint their faces each morning, with red paint from the achote plant, in patterns which reflect the previous night dreams, their mood or simply to look beautiful.
Here are the first two behind the scenes videos shot by my assistant/partner James. Check back here for additional videos in the coming months.
I am six weeks into my trip to Peru, that’s about half way if James and I follow our loose schedule.
I am so excited about the images I have been capturing here in this vibrant country. Here is a sample of what I have been up to over the last month.
(Above) This is an image I shot on a floating reed island of Lake Titicaca, Peru. The young boy was playing on the other side of the tiny island. I knew this line of reeds would make a beautiful background for a shot and I wanted the little boy to run towards me, so I got into position and set up my camera with a fairly shallow depth of field (f/6.3) and fast shutter speed (1/640sec) to freeze him in motion. I waited a few minutes till he came my way then I made eye contact and got his attention, making him smile. I shot three frames and this is my favourite of the three.
(Above) Visiting Machu Picchu was an INCREDIBLE experience. Even as I was ascending the harsh mountainside to the entrance I could feel that I was arriving to a special place in the world. Exploring the ruins was inspiring, but (as a portrait photographer) I found myself time and time again returning to the only residents of the area – the llamas. I spent a few hours stalking these lovely animals in different parts of the ruins. This one was my favourite because her name is Alicia (her ear tag told me).
The lighting was moody that day – the sun was nearly breaking through the clouds but only in certain areas – leaving the background mountains shaded. I shot with my wide angle lens (at 24mm) to capture a feeling of closeness with Alicia, while still including a wide area of the ruins in the background. With an aperture of f/6.3 the far ruins fell out of focus just enough to make Alicia stand out.
EOS magazine is a great photography publication coming out of the UK, focused on the technical side of photography and specifically of Canon EOS cameras.
I wanted to write an account of my experiences volunteering in Latin America, thinking it would appeal to EOS readers. The editor Angela August agreed and offered me a two page spread in the Nov 2011 issue. When the article went to print, it ended up as four pages.
I was really pleased to receive an email from Angela saying “Very many thanks for your contribution. I must compliment you on your fantastic pics, sparkling, well-targeted copy and generally getting everything to me on time and in sensible order. You made my job very easy!”
I put a lot of effort in to making the article as polished as possible, so it’s so nice to hear I could make Angela’s job easier.
Here is a copy of the article.
I love getting feedback, so please leave any of your comments here on email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
My journey through Latin America has taken me further north to the wonderful land of Mexico. I had high expectations for this country and Mexico has already exceeded those expectations. The delicious food, the welcoming characters, the rainbow of colours across the variations of traditional dress and the remains of a deep history. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead for me.
I will be in Mexico for August and September 2011, followed by some time in The USA, before turning around and heading back south through Central America. Please check the Travel Plan tab at the top of this blog for more information.
I look forward to sharing the journey with you on my blog and Facebook pages.