The International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) includes in its fellowship an international cadre of some of the world’s top wildlife, nature, and culture photographers. Together, we work with conservation organizations all around the globe to visually document their efforts in protecting and conserving the animals, places, and cultures that make our planet so special. As we celebrate our tenth anniversary, we are thrilled to celebrate a decade of amazing collaborations and honor the work of our photographers and partners in iLCP Expeditions. For more information and to support our work, visit ConservationPhotographers.org.
Historians say that Holland Island had more than 360 people around 1910, with two stores, a school, and a baseball team that traveled to other islands by boat. The century-old house in the picture was the last structure left on the island. It ultimately collapsed in October 2010, illustrating the Chesapeake’s problem with rising oceans and sinking land.
I am passionate about the art of underwater conservation photography. On this expedition to the Mesoamerican Reef in Mexico, I focused on capturing inspiring images that communicate the dramatic beauty of wildlife and ecosystems, with the goal of sparking environmental awareness and positive social change toward protecting our blue planet.
No environmental threat creates a greater peril to cultural and natural values of British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest than the tar sands pipeline originating in Alberta, Canada. I see the region’s Kermode spirit bear as a worthy symbol of the globally unique ecosystem at risk in the path of a pending pipeline that could destroy more than six hundred freshwater systems and British Columbia’s salmon culture.
Documenting the biodiversity of Danajon Bank was a challenging but rewarding experience, enlightening me to the complex pressures at hand for this rare ecosystem and the people it supports. Along with the beauty and the destruction, I saw the dedicated efforts of Project Seahorse and other groups working with local communities to restore this marine wonder of the world.
The Sacred Headwaters Expedition is a perfect example of the impact iLCP can have on conservation.
With images, we projected this little-known wilderness onto the world stage, helping the Tahltan First
Nation succeed in their fight to protect a million acres of land dear to their culture and environment.
I come from India, the Land of Tigers. Like tigers, nature photographers are usually solitary creatures. It’s rare that we can work for a common cause, and that’s
the most exciting thing about the iLCP Expeditions. We join forces, realizing that time is short and we need to act immediately and collectively… The results speak for themselves.
The cloud forests of El Triunfo in Mexico are one of those rare examples of where the clock of evolution seems to have stopped ticking. I am humbled by their ancient
wilderness feeling and have always tried to create images that speak to that. We need more primary forests for the future.
The Chesapeake Bay watershed expedition focused on the faltering health of the bay, North America’s largest estuary. Though a sad reality, hope lies at the foundation of this landscape’s story, where a community of people is trying to revive the watershed from centuries of deforestation and pollution.
Our seas are overfished, no doubt about it. There is an urgent need to establish no-take zones to allow fish populations to survive, thrive, and repopulate other areas. To be successful, these initiatives need full support of local fishermen, like the one pictured catching a yellowtail snapper, whose future can be brighter if the area is properly managed.
I worked an entire day with this young boy wearing a homemade dive mask. He was gathering sea slug eggs in the seagrass bed just off the shore of his village on Bilangbilangan Island. Done mostly by women and children, this form of fishing is an incredibly important source of food for local communities. This is a traditional and sustainable way of life that is now threatened by population growth, poverty, and pollution that came with changes in cultural habits.
iLCP 2010 Great Bear Rainforest Expedition with Pacific Wild
In 2010, Pacific Wild invited iLCP to the Great Bear Rainforest. Despite being the largest remaining coastal temperate rainforest on Earth, five years ago it was little known and deeply threatened by pipeline proposals. Today, though battles with industry and government continue, iLCP images have helped us put—and keep—the rainforest on the map.
Our mission was to capture the spirit of the maleo, an endemic ground-nesting bird found in Sulawesi. These large, turkey-like birds nest by burying their eggs deep down in the sand and protect their space from other maleos by their calls and with their fearsome displays. This image, to me, shows how full of character these birds can be at the nesting ground. Every day, I had to make sure I was in the hide pre-dawn, while it was still dark, as the birds were extremely skittish. After a few days, they accepted our presence and came close enough to make images.
In 1993, I attended a presentation on the fight to protect the Peel River watershed. I was blown away by the beauty of this wilderness and was inspired to pursue a life of environmental advocacy using my photography. This iLCP Expedition brought me full circle and has inspired others to protect and preserve this remarkable Yukon landscape.
Before heading out to the Tuamotus and Gambiers in French Polynesia, I asked myself, “What if the earth were made of coral?” Just this thought had me envisioning how I would capture that question in the form of an image. Equally important was to capture what the scientists must do to reach their goals of understanding the health of coral reef systems around the planet.
Chile’s Chiloé Island is a wild place. Relentless Pacific waves, driven by the “roaring 40s,” sculpt the jagged western coast. Migrating shorebirds
wheel overhead while penguins, marine otters, and blue whales ply the fertile waters. I am working with Chilean NGOs to preserve Mar Brava beach from mega-wind farm development that would irrevocably alter this diverse ecosystem.
My passion centers on exploring relations between people’s health and their environment. The Mesoamerican Reef faces threats from overfishing,
changing water temperatures, and invasive species. Those making their living from the seas are affected first. I focus on documenting their lives and the struggles they face as their world changes.
Photographing the indigenous Nez Perce, I felt shame and astonishment. Shame for the atrocities inflicted on American Indians. Astonishment at the kindness and generational forgiveness I was shown at a powwow in their homeland along the Clearwater River. Drums beating, voices rising, they are there dancing. Strong, beautiful, enduring.
This photo of the Yucatán Peninsula rainforest distills the conflict between humans and nature. It is my hope that it—and other images like it from iLCP—inspire a deeper appreciation and empathy for the natural world and also an understanding of the precarious balance that our lifestyle has placed upon our home, Earth.
This expedition was a wonderful opportunity to revisit and photograph remote, hardly visited coral reefs that few people ever see. As the representing Fellow of iLCP, I documented the GBR and the science that happened on board LOF’s research vessel and underwater.
I’ve been photographing in Baja California for more than a decade. With the help of iLCP and other conservation partners, we’ve been successful in putting a spotlight on many important issues in the region, including stopping the proposed development of Bahia Balandra near La Paz, protecting Cabo Pulmo National Park, and opposing a proposed open-pit mine in the Sierra de la Laguna.
My photography focuses on the intersections of social and environmental issues. Nearly half the world’s population relies on fish for a significant portion of their protein, making the collapse of fisheries around the world one of the most urgent environmental and humanitarian issues we face today.