Blog > Earth Day: Conversations with Photographers of the Natural World

Earth Day: Conversations with Photographers of the Natural World

Earth Day: Conversations with Photographers of the Natural World

This year we’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day by partnering with six incredibly talented photographers from around the world. We’ve asked them to share their unique perspective with the Nebia community and what they’ve learned from photographing our beautiful Blue Planet.

Our hope is that these photos will transport us far beyond our current surroundings and inspire us to think of new ways to connect with the natural world. We invite to join us this week as we dream of faraway lands, explore what it means to be a steward of the Earth, and take action to build a better future. 

What do you enjoy most about photographing the environment?

It's the fact that anything can happen and you're not sure of what you're going to see. It makes you pay attention to everything.

What drew you to photographing the natural world?

Seeing the differences in cultures and wanting to draw parallels between them if any. 

Why is sustainability important to you and how does it connect to your work?

The environment houses us so we owe it care and respect. More than half of my work has to do with people and their environments. Through it, I've become attached to it, and more importantly, aware of our duty to it.

What are some of your favorite places in the world and why?

Bali, South Africa, New Orleans, Kenya and Sicily. All these places have a musicality to it and warmth. The people make me feel welcome and there are stories everywhere you look. I'd go back to all of them in a second. Plus the scenery and food are amazing. Especially in New Orleans.

What connects you most to home?

I'm still looking for it.  

 

What do you enjoy most about photographing the environment?

I love that I can see the same landscape 100 times and, depending on the position of the sun or the weather or even my mindset, it can look wildly different every time. It keeps me curious.

What drew you to photographing the natural world?

They say if you want to write, you should write about what you know, and I think that really applies to photography, too. I spend so much of my time on the road, in the ocean or the mountains, that it just feels natural. I've never felt the pressure to shoot something, because I just love it so much I'd be doing it even if no one saw a single shot. 

Why is sustainability important to you and how does it connect to your work?

It's a goal of mine to help make important stories about our planet accessible to anyone, no matter their age or economic or political background. The more people can connect with something, the more it becomes relevant to them, and relevancy inspires action. My work is all about making these global, sometimes dismal-feeling issues feel hopeful and human on more of a local level. It's all about taking small, imperfect steps toward sustainability. Sometimes it really is as simple as getting to know your local farmer or voting in local elections.

What are some of your favorite places in the world and why?

I love truly wild places, which is why so much of my work is devoted to protecting them. The fjords of the South Island of New Zealand, the Alaskan backcountry, and canyon walls in Big Bend National Park are some of my favorite locations because of their rugged beauty and complete solitude. I feel so lucky to have been to each of those places multiple times. Even if I emerge from them in desperate need of a shower. 

What connects you most to home?

I live in the suburbs in southeastern PA, but 30 minutes away, some of the most important research on organic farming in the world is happening. I feel proud to live somewhere where people recognize the way we interact with soil, and food is so crucial to and interconnected to the health of our oceans and mountains. Plus, we have access to so many amazing rivers and trails and local, organic food. It's a great place to call home. 

 

What do you enjoy most about photographing the environment?

Nature in itself is art and I enjoy immersing myself in it. It's so real, there's nothing fake about it and you learn from it. In fact, I believe nature is the greatest teacher. The camera is just a tool for me that has allowed me to capture the things I see.

What drew you to photographing the natural world?

The solitude & silence. The quiet places, places that aren't altered by human development. The moments out at sea where there's nothing between you and that horizon, the sounds of the rainforest, the times I've been in the mountains fully covered in the mist. Those are moments that I will never forget and are so special to me that the natural world has become my sanctuary.

What connects you most to home?

Trinidad & Tobago has such a raw landscape and we've got the best of both worlds, we have those lush green mountains full of wildlife but also the classic Caribbean blue sea. I feel very connected to those aspects of our environment. We are very fortunate to have that here and it's something I don't take for granted. I spend everyday of my life outside in the natural world. I'd feel incomplete without it.

What drew you to photographing the natural world?

Living in China and discovering the vast beauty of the countryside there drew me to photographing the natural world. There’s a big misconception that China is just huge, populated cities, when in fact the natural beauty and diversity is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. From the huge, rolling sand dunes in the Gobi Desert in Dunhuang, to the sprawling water-filled rice terraces in southern Yuanyang, to the mountains in the west and the beaches in the south and east, you have just about everything in China. And photographing these places that haven’t been over-photographed is a really rewarding feeling as you get to put your mark on these places through your photos.

What are some of your favorite places in the world and why?

The karst landscapes throughout Southern China are some of my favorite to shoot. When you visit, it’s like you’ve stepped onto another planet, and the views really do take your breath away, especially if there’s low fog. I also really love shooting nature and less-travelled destinations throughout Japan. The colors in Japan change dramatically throughout the year, with deep red and orange leaves in the autumn and pink cherry blossom flowers just about everywhere you look in the spring.

What do you enjoy most about photographing the environment?

It requires union and patience. Taking photos of other people, of other situations, requires you to be part of them. Put the camera aside and be part of every situation first. Expose yourself and become vulnerable, in order to capture the essence of each moment.  

What connects you most to home?

For me, home is not a single place. I feel at home when I have nature, people, warm food, a history, love, respect and the tranquility of being able to create. People can make a place a home. 

What drew you to photographing the natural world?

A photograph ironically is what first sparked my interest in wanting to photograph more of nature. Six years ago I was eating dinner with a friend and his wife. I was in between jobs and was asking them for places to possibly visit and she showed me a photo of Cappadocia, Turkey. If you’re not familiar with Cappadocia, it had some of the most unique rock formations and natural landscapes I had ever seen. After I saw that one photo, I knew I had to go there.  

Why is sustainability important to you and how does it connect to your work?

It’s so important to be good stewards of our planet. We do not own the earth but are inhabitants of it and I see it as a two-way relationship. The earth takes care of us and we need to take care of the earth. And I hope my work shows an appreciation for that. 

What are some of your favorite places in the world and why?

Some of my favorite places are the ones off of the beaten path, usually not centered in large cities or busy areas. I gravitate towards the more untouched, secluded areas when it comes to nature because it helps me relax, think clearly, and re-energize when needed. We all connect to nature in our own ways and were built to experience that.