What is it we’re doing to become better? My head’s been swimming with ideas — viciously exciting opportunities, projects and plans. I knew this year would be a wild one, and it has me looking forward to these next few to follow. I wanted 2016 to be different. I wanted it to be a year of living — a conscious limiting of the stagnant days into which we can be so easily swept.
New places. New books. New ideas. New images to be made.
At the end of the day, however, I don’t think the most important question should be what we’re doing, but why we’re doing something to become better. David duChumin, a photographer I’ve followed for about five years now — the one who had the single largest impact on which path I would end up taking on my own journey — has always been about vision.
“Vision is the beginning and end of photography. It’s the thing that moves you to pick up the camera, and it determines what you look at and what you see when you do. It determines how you shoot and why. Without vision, the photographer perishes.” – David duChemin
After seven years of undergrad, and a couple of years since graduation, I never thought I’d say this, but I’ve started graduate school. In addition to the full-time College job, I’m now a master’s student of the School of Natural Resources and Environment pursuing a degree in Interdisciplinary Ecology.
The long-term goal? Using visual storytelling to generate calls to action for wildlife conservation.
Ecological aesthetics is the route I think I’m on — figuring out how human emotion and ecological sensibilities can be influenced by compelling imagery backed by science. The curriculum hopefully reinforcing what technical skills I’ve come to learn as a photographer, while also restructuring and reinforcing another type of critical thinking to allow for the practice of asking better questions we’re looking to solve.
Nat Geo Photographer Joel Sartore says that by saving a species, we’re saving ourselves. That’s something I believe in. That’s the vision I have.