Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students
What is conservation photography? One might define it as "nature photography with a mission." Conservation photographers photograph the natural world, animals, and plants, and the people that threaten, protect, or study wildlife and ecosystems—all with the goal of advocating for specific conservation outcomes.
“In broad terms, conservation photography is the use of imagery to achieve conservation goals. Blending nature photography with a social documentary approach, it is an issue-oriented and proactive storytelling platform that allows photographers to put their images to work.” - Neil Ever Osborne
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to conservation photography and the strategic use of visual communication to support environmental issues and awareness. During the first third of the quarter, students will learn how to use a digital SLR camera; they will practice and refine their photographic skills and develop strategies for effective visual storytelling. In the middle of the quarter, we’ll focus on how photographs have been used, both historically and currently, to advocate for the environment. Toward the end of the quarter, we’ll examine conservation campaigns, discuss the ethics of photojournalism, and hear from prominent conservation photographers about how they have created images with the goal of supporting an appreciation and awareness of environmental issues. From climate change to wildlife trafficking, conservation photographers are working to make an impact on public policies and individual behavior.
Throughout the quarter, students will create original photographs in weekly photographic assignments, and they will learn how to constructively critique their own images and those of others. The course culminates in the presentations of photoessays that explore specific conservation or environmental issues and of individual photographic portfolios.
To get a better sense of what conservation photography is, have a look at Witness: Defining Conservation Photography Feature from iLCP on Vimeo. (Directed and produced by Neil Ever Osborne with editing and production by Chad A. Stevens and support from the iLCP.)