I had the opportunity to live in East Africa for a few years. During my time there I loved to go to the game parks with my family and take photos of the incredible wildlife. It was in Tanzania that I discovered an unbelievable photographer by the name of Nick Brandt. His photography has really influenced my art, but, more importantly, his devotion to conserving the beautiful animals of Africa has inspired me to try and do the same.
It has always been amazing to me how a single moment in time captured in a camera and printed on some medium can inspire people to a cause. But it does! I have always been of the mind that if it is within one's power to effect real, positive change in any area, one should do so. I would hope that photographers would use their gifts and talents for more than just personal gain and do something that makes a difference.
I am a Christian, and therefore I believe that I am a steward of what God has provided to us on earth, including His wildlife. I believe that Christians, because of the stewardship issue alone, should be the greatest conservationists on the planet. We ought to use our God-given talents and skills to help make this world a positive place to live, including the conservation and management of threatened and endangered wildlife.
If you are a photographer, I challenge you to think creatively about how you can use your talent to enact real change in the world. For example, I have donated a print to LionAid for them to auction off. Also, after visiting Amboseli National Park in Kenya, I did a guest blog post on a conservation website with some of my photos talking about the terrible drought there. I, also, had the opportunity to take some photos of a wild dog rehabilitation program and black rhino reintroduction program in Mkomazi National Park in Tanzania with the George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust.