As a Fine Arts major, currently
attending the State University of New York Plattsburgh, I have chosen to concentrate in
photography in hopes to become a photojournalist. I study several different
genres of art, with a concentration in photography. The main appeal in choosing this discipline,
is the medium’s effectiveness in raising awareness. Images are powerful. They visually lure people into subject matter
and forces them to be exposed to truths they may not have normally seen. We
live in a time where the media strongly impacts society and its social issues. I
plan on using photography to expose the natural world and its problems in hopes
of creating environmental changes. Although they are seemingly on opposite ends
of the spectrum, science can be related to art in numerous ways. Biologists use photography for documenting research; making an impact by using it as a tool and a visual aid. I will be discussing how photographers and
biologist use photography to show the world in its glory and in its
ages photography has been used to show Mother Nature’s highs and lows. Ansel
Adams, the distinguished photographer, writer an environmentalist, used his
vibrant landscapes of the United
States to show the natural world at its
best. He lived from 1902 till 1984 just barley escaping the downspin of the
world. Growing up, a loner, in San Francisco California,
he formed a relationship with nature that he could not with people. As a young man he began bringing his Kodak 1
Brownie on his hikes, and matured in his art and self, exploring the country on
his move to new York.
As his fame grew, it was important that his landscapes were seen as fine art,
and he was established as the first photographer in the Museum
of Modern Art in New York. With success, his confidence grew
and he concentrated more on exposing the natural world. In 1960, Adams along with a fellow photographer Nancy Newhall
combined their work in the book This is the American Earth.
is the American Earth has had an astonishing impact on society and launched
the first citizen environmental movement. Adams,
being a published photographer with the Sierra Club, wrote several letters and
attending numerous meetings pushing his activism for preservation of wildlife.
In the end, Adams images were stronger than
his words. Adams became an icon representing
American wilderness. He fought for preservation parks in Alaska,
on the Coast of California,
in the Redwood Forests and throughout the country. He also was one of the first
fighting for clean air and water and saving endangered animals. Adams found
highways and billboards to be and obstruction of nature and was strongly
against the building-up of America,
realizing the impact it was having on the natural world.
was important to Ansel Adams that his work expressed the need and ability for
harmony between mankind and the natural world.
“I hope that my work will
encourage self expression in others and stimulate the search for beauty and
creative excitement in the great world around us,” – Ansel Adams. Ansel
Adams’s work has had an astonishing impact on art, humanity and the natural
world. He documented a part of America
that can never be the same (Turnage, 2006).
Ansel Adams who photographed the beauty of the west of America, Edward
Burtynsky photographed landscapes of manufactured pollution around the world.
His large scale photographs directly expose the impact industrialization has
had on the natural world. His photography depicts waste dumping, mines, dams,
quarries and industrial factories. In essence, he is a realist photographer,
living through the modern dilemma of pollution and documenting our
existence. His photographs are
aesthetically pleasing, despite the pollution. The controversial images are
presented as prints the size of a wall. They
are meant to directly engage the viewer, hitting them with effects of man’s
consumption of the Earth.
go about their daily life with no consideration to our mass consumption. There is no concept of what is being produced
or disposed for us to live our day-to-day lives. In 2005 Burtynsky won the TED Prize and
helped start worldsaving.com, a website that is geared to raise awareness and
promote preservation of the world. Burtynsky’s photographs have documented
man’s imprint in the world and are valid evidence of our powers of
Photography is the foundation of cinema, being
that there are twenty-four still photographs
composing one second of moving film. From these series of twenty-four
images, a story can evolve.. In 2006, Al Gore collaborated with director Davis
Guggenheim, presenting the film "An
Inconvenient Truth" intending to raise awareness about global warming.
This movie is filled with
scientific evidence that global warming is caused from the high CO2 levels that
have continued to increase within the last twenty-five years. Al Gore has gone
across the world showing his slide show to expose global warming, in hopes of
creating a change. This slide show relies heavily on photography. One part even
compares what parts of the world once looked like to what they have become. He
appeals to man’s need “to see it to believe it.” Proving, that photography is the form of
documentation most accessible to the public and most useful in making an
impact. With out this documentation it would be easy to ignore the beauty the
world once had and the truths that a camera cannot hide.
Photography is a form of art that
is expressive and used as an important piece of documentation. Documentation of the natural world started
with the invention of photography in 1820 and is used today as important
biological evidence. It is important to understand that without this medium of
art evidence of what the world had once been would be lost.
Turnage, W (2006). Ansel Adams, Photographer. Retrieved
December 5, 2006, from The Ansel Adams Gallery Web site: http://www.anseladams.com/content/ansel_info/anseladams_biography2.html
Burtynsky, E (2006). Artist Statement. Retrieved December 5,
2006, from Edward Burtynsky Photographic Works Web site: http://www.edwardburtynsky.com/
Internet Movie Database, (2006). An Inconvenient Truth.
Retrieved December 5, 2006, from IMDB Web site: