Tim Coleman gives his opinion about what landscape photographers can do to help the planet and the landscapes they photograph.
How far and how frequently do you travel as a photographer to explore a landscape? How do you get there?
Yes, for most of us it can feel like the most amazing landscapes are almost always some considerable distance away. I’ve driven 2-3 hours each way in a single morning with a friend and our cameras, purely to catch a misty south-coast sunrise with castle thrown in for good measure. It was a treat.
Yet since life returned to a post-pandemic ‘normal’, I’ve felt more acutely aware of the keen landscape photographers clocking up the miles once more in their fuel guzzling vehicles, and the international landscape photography workshops with multiple participants.
I think to myself, if we love the landscape so much, how can we so willingly put our own significant footprint on it? Obviously, stewardship of our one planet applies to us all in general, but in a landscape photography context the message feels heightened.
It’s too big a topic to unpack here, I’m no expert, and this is not a lecture per se. I suppose my hope is that we who love the outdoors in particular ask ourselves from time to time, Am I just taking from the land? What additional damage am I causing by my choice of destination and mode of transport?
Can there be a more conscious effort to lower our adverse contribution to our planet? To offset our landscape photography carbon footprint? Could your own photography contribute to the protection of green spaces?
Or could it just be possible to love the landscape around you a little more? We had to do it during the first wave in the pandemic, and personally I found a peace and creative liberation by intricately discovering the land around me that I could reach by foot from my house.
I found new compositions, learnt exactly where and when the sun would pop up throughout the year, what each season would bring in flora and fauna. Discovering the beauty around me – both urban and rural.
And the fact is, there are plenty of amazing landscape photographers already living in those distant beauty spots, like the Lake District in the UK. Does the world need a pale imitation offered by someone like me less familiar with those landscapes, traveling at greater cost to our planet?
Featured image credit: Luca J/ Unsplash.
The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of Amateur Photographer magazine or Kelsey Media Limited. If you have an opinion you’d like to share on this topic, or any other photography related subject, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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