We are all aware that the natural world is under threat, but for environmental photographers this fact isn’t just something seen on documentaries or read about in the news, but part of daily work. It’s unsurprising that many nature photographers are therefore working to highlight the plight of the landscapes and animals they interact with.
Prints for Nature – a fine-art photographic print sale – is a new initiative designed to support the natural world. Eighty-five photographers working to protect people, wildlife and the environment have donated prints for the sale, with all proceeds going to Conservation International.
The initiative was set-up by National Geographic photographer Ami Vitale and is inspired by a desire to face the current challenges of the pandemic as well as the impacts it is having on both wildlife and the communities protecting them. The ten photos below are all part of the initiative.
AMI VITALE: LEKUPANIA AND GIRAFFE
An orphaned reticulated giraffe nuzzles Sarara Camp wildlife keeper Lekupania. This giraffe was rehabilitated and returned to the wild. Current estimates are that giraffe populations across Africa have dropped 40 percent in three decades, plummeting from approximately 155,000 in the late 1980s to under 100,000 today. The decline is thought to be caused to habitat loss and fragmentation and poaching, but because there haven’t been long term conservation efforts in the past, it’s hard to know exactly what is happening. Reticulated giraffe themselves number fewer than 16,000 individuals.
Nikon Ambassador and National Geographic Magazine photographer Ami Vitale is the founder of the Prints for Nature initiative.
JASPER DOEST: A BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS IN THE FALKLANDS/MALVINAS ISLANDS
A black-browed albatross rests on its nest on New Island. Despite the fact that the black-browed albatross has been found to be the most common bird killed by fisheries, this large seabird is the most widespread and common member of its family. Dutch photographer Jasper Doest, who majored in exology, seeks to create visual stories that explore the relationship between humankind and nature.
JODY MACDONALD: RAJAN SWIMMING
Rajan is an Asian elephant who was brought to the Andaman Islands in the 1950s to help extract timber from the jungles. Along with a small group of 10 elephants, he was forced to learn how to swim in the ocean to bring logged trees to nearby boats. When logging became banned in 2002, Rajan was out of a job. He was the last of the group to survive and enjoyed his retirement by swimming in the ocean and foraging in the jungle he once used to log. He died at the age of 66 in 2016. Jody MacDonald spent her formative years in Saudi Arabia before sailing around the world twice over the span of a decade on kiteboarding, sailing, surfing and paragliding expeditions.
MICHAELA SKOVRANOVA: HUMPBACK WHALE AND CALF IN TONGA VAVA'U
Humpback Whale and her calf swimming in Tonga Vava'u. Michaela Skovranova is an Australia-based documentary photographer and a filmmaker specialising in environmental storytelling.
ANAND VARMA: ANNA'S HUMMINBIRD
An Anna's hummingbird hovers below a makeshift fog machine used by scientists to study the airflow around its wings. Photographer Anand Varma grew up exploring the woods near his childhood home in Atlanta, Georgia. As a teenager, he picked up his dad’s old camera on a whim and found that he could use it to feed his curiosity about the natural world—and to share his discoveries with others. Anand studied integrative biology from UC Berkeley and now uses photography to share the story behind the science on everything from honeybee health to hummingbird biomechanics.
STEVE WINTER: COUGAR IN GRIFFITH PARK
‘I was looking for an image that spoke to the fact that as our cities expand we move into the forests and grasslands - the homes of animals,’ writes Steve Winter, who has been a photographer for National Geographic for over two decades. ‘The photo sparked a movement to protect southern California’s last cougars and other wildlife in two large protected areas bisected by the 101 Freeway north of L.A. It will be the World’s Largest Wildlife Overpass—and will be completed by 2022.’
THE BRIGHT GALACTIC BULGE OF THE MILKY WAY AND THE PALE-BLUE ZODIACAL LIGHT (SUNLIGHT REFLECTION FROM DUST IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM PLANE) APPEAR OVERTHE ATACAMA DESERT AND CLOUD COVERED SHORES OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN IN CHILE. A BRIGHT SATELLITE FLARE IN THE SKY
The Milky Way gleams in all its splendor as seen from a mountain-top in Chile. A bright satellite flare in the sky. Babak Tafreshi is an Iranian-American photographer for National Geographic, the founder of The World at Night (TWAN) program, and a science journalist who aims to reconnect people with the night sky and the values of protecting natural night environments.
BEVERLY JOUBERT: SAFE PASSAGE
An elephant herd returns from the marsh in Amboseli, crossing the dry country in search of food. Beverly Joubert is a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence.
FLORIAN LEDOUX: CRABEATER SEALS
Crabeater Seals on the Lobodon carcinophaga rest on the broken ice of the Antarctic peninsula in December 2018. The biomass of this species is four time higher than all other seals; they are also the fastest seal in the water. Ledoux is a self-taught photographer. He developed his passion until it became strong enough to become a photo reporter in the french Navy. In parallel, he started his own project in Greenland.
GRAEME GREEN: GENTOO PENGUIN ON AN ICE SURFBOARD IN ANTARCTICA
Graeme Green is a photographer and journalist, who’s been travelling the world for 15 years reporting stories and photographing wildlife, people and places. Graeme is also founder of the New Big 5 project (www.newbig5.com), an international wildlife conservation initiative supported by +150 photographers, conservationists and wildlife charities.