Photo from http://www.cristinamittermeier.com
So I talked about the website Creative Live in a previous post, and because of the recent Earth Day celebration, they replayed the course taught by Cristina Mittermeier on Nature and Conservation Photography. It was not a technical photography course for beginners. It was for photographers who already know their craft, but want to go into conservation photography. So she talked less about how to take pictures, and more about how to approach organizations and what type of photographs should be in your proposal for these organizations. I loved that course. I’m unlikely to go into conservation photography, but as someone who wants to shift from research to conservation, I found it useful to get a glimpse of the life and works of someone who is already neck-deep in that field.
I came out of that 2-hour course incredibly inspired by her. And I figured, why not devote a small space of the internet to the growing list of ordinary women who do extraordinary things that I look up to and am inspired by. So I’ll start with Cristina.
I know of Cristina Mittermeier through Paul Nicklen. He’s a famous wildlife photographer for National Geographic that I follow on Instagram. Cristina sometimes gets tagged in his photos. They co-founded Sea Legacy which is a “collective of scientists, photographers, filmmakers and journalists committed to turning the tide on the health of our marine ecosystems.” Prior to this, she founded the International League of Conservation Photographers, which is a “consortium of some of the best photographers on the planet who are actively working for conservation.” She is a marine biologist by training, but shifted to photography because she felt it was a more effective tool in bringing immediate attention to conservation issues.
I think her most notable work is with the Kayapo people of Brazil. She has spent years documenting their life that is jeopardized by a reservoir of a dam that will start surging this year. The photographs from that story are beautiful, and moving, and tragic, and distressing, and profound all at the same time. You can see her other works here.
I look up to her because she’s very good at what she does. Her photographs, her writing, her speeches are all compelling. She is incredibly passionate about her work, and she is able to inspire people around her to join in her cause. She was pregnant when she photographed the Kayapo, and she brought her kids to her subsequent assignments. She has children and she has a thriving career, and I have so much respect for women who have both, and manage it well. Above all, she’s doing conservation work. This is my thing!
Who are the women who inspire you? What qualities do they possess that you identify with the most?