Making a Difference With Photography


The Art of Seeing


Lesson Info

Making a Difference With Photography

I would like to talk with you about how you can use photography to highlight environmental issues and solution student's problems this is not easy none of us are going to solve the world's problems on our own we're not going to be able to make much of a dent in the enormous problems caused by climate change that are causing upheaval in places around the world including madagascar the dust storms that's where I made this image yeah the increasing problems that come from people living together in ever bigger cities the urbanization of the world I made this image at the edge of rio de janeiro which brushes up against the last remaining fragments of the atlantic rainforest a big contrast I do believe that each of us can make a contribution at a smaller scale when it comes to specific issues that affect our communities or things that grab us individually and I would like to inspire each and every one of us to consider using our cameras to do just that I've been photographing things like thi...

s your barn owl killed by a car by the side of a highway this was amazing moment this quite dramatic early morning light hit at barn owl it was still warm when I found it and I sang down to my knees to get very close to it and I used the perspective of my vita angle lens to dramatize the ally got very close to it that is what made it bigger in the scene and then as luck had it that white stripe at the edge of the high by ran right through its heart so there's a lot of strong lines in the image and the light was quite dramatic and quite appropriate for the situation he madagascar I've done a lot of work to highlight environmental issues I made this portrait one day of a local tribesmen holding up the egg of a bird that has become extinct as a result of over hunting it was one of the largest birds that ever lived on the planet the famous elephant bird it was a huge ostrich like flightless bird with ext ever literally dis pick there's still some eggs around I borrowed one from a museum and I used that as a prop to make this portrait I asked his men to post against the backdrop of one of the amazing forest in madagascar that still exist and I added a strobe with a soft box to illuminate his face this image became symbolic for the environmental crisis in madagascar it expressed in one image the natural history the cultural diversity in the environmental issues and I started documenting what people are doing on the ground madagascar's desperately poor people are cutting forest down not because they like doing that that because they have no alternative so they're cutting forests on the hill site and planting rice and then you look at a situation like this you begin to appreciate the poverty now people walking barefoot husband sitting nerva to two kids it becomes a local image and this is the collective result on ariel I made of the massive deforestation in the center of that island now we can be concerned and weaken point fingers at what's happening in the tropics for the last remaining tropical forest are getting cut down but it's good to remember that in the united states we've gone through a very similar period off devastation when white people moved to the state of california after the gold rush in a matter of decades are old growth forest disappeared people needed construction but to build the city of san francisco this is a historical photograph made in the senate cruz mountains when there were almost no trees left standing and then at the beginning of the twentieth century citizens from the san francisco area banded together they became the first tree huggers they banded together to save the last standing giant redwoods in our area they look like very genteel people with their top hats and their victorian dresses but they were radicals in their time and it's thanks to their efforts into their commitment that the giant redwoods air standing today president roosevelt president teddy roosevelt came to yosemite and the conservationist the champion for the forest and the mountains named john muir and that up spending a couple of days with president roosevelt and he convinced him to declare yosemite national park that was radical we'll know who ansel adams wass he was a fantastic photographer but he was also committed conservationist and he used his work as leverage for creating a better situation so it's befitting that he's memorized in the ansel adams wilderness in the share in nevada mountains in california so it's thanks to the commitment in a passion of individuals one hundred years ago that we are living in a situation where we can still walk and drive and bicycle to parks where we see these fantastic trees every time I get visitors from europe to hear you we take them to this park and they marvel at it because in europe we've lost a lot in america there's still a lot standing and that includes the beauty of the california coast which I'm very passionate about this is the beach close to our home it's also the image we're using as the emblem for the course and this is a beach scene from close to where I live I live in the hills up there this is highway one we as locals shared a coast with visitors from around the world it is a global legacy sent the cruise is a very active community people care about the quality of life they care about their environment so the mayor and the geologist and other folks band together to study things and everybody speaks out when there are real issues and we are part of the community we play our role and I document things locally not because national geographic not because national geographic asked me to do that but because I care about local issues when there's pollution in coastal creaks and the county is forced to put up a public health hazard signs I documented in my camera and ultimately you know we have to be stuart of our own local legacy we have to ensure that the fish they healthy in the streams so I hope that by showing you some of these pictures I can inspire you to embrace your own issues and to do things that are both creatively interesting as well s things that can make a tangible difference I would like to share with you von maur story to underscore that it's a story that some of our friends in the netherlands may may be familiar with it there's only one wild horse in this world it is not the mustang that runs around in north america it is a horse that is named after a polish gentleman who was the first long to describe it it is the famous brezosky horse which is once found widely across asia and in europe as well actually there are paintings in the caves in france paintings made twenty thousand years ago that showed these horses they gradually dwindled they disappeared until they were only found in pockets of habitat in central asia and then the last one's disappeared from there as well and then there were only found in zoos and everyone thought that that was it the's horses would die out in the wild and then some committed people who loved horses decided why should we accept that as a destiny why can't we bring these horses back to the wild and they started a project too conditioned him to be taken back to the place where they belong in central asia so they were taken out of zeus and taken to places where they could spend the winter outside and ultimately they were transported back to mongolia and here you know I'm photographing that magic moment of the release and then of course you have to show them also running around wild outside again and this is all because of the vision of one woman in the netherlands in obama and her husband who got quite a few other supporters to do something that initially people said this is crazy you cannot do this they proved everybody that it could be done so there are many of thes issues there are many of these projects they exist in every town in every city people who say yes we can and you as photographers can contribute to making them heroes resonating with our online audience interviewing people france because they're saying j lyman really picked up on your comment making a difference with photography that is well well said franz on other viewers are saying they're loving that you're addressing these matters andi you know david suzuki gave a keynote speaker in his very first year of teaching photography in nineteen seventy four and it changed his attitude but the attitudes need to keep changing and keep thinking on dh there working with the different issues in their community on dh scott I am is saying I think it's important to use your photography skills to help a local regional cause I've done some of that in the past it can be something a simplest taking pictures of your local humane society we're investigating other local issues in your area and you demonstrated that so clearly in your images there of your local area do you have a favorite spot in the monterey area that you photograph of several people ask that online I've seen pictures I've shown picked yourself quite a few of them already and one of them they're going to see later on with the results of that field trip that we did so alcorn slough is another one of my favorite areas yeah there's quite a few I'm gonna be looking at those segment tuesday definite station for the field trip but I'm very happy to hear the comments online about this because I feel very strongly about this that we can all use our cameras no matter very your professional or not it doesn't matter you know embracing issue and make that your focal point and continue to do coverage and give the results to people who can actually use them to make their own difference with and it's really having that impact francis definitely thank you explore discover share says I photograph the process of nature reclaiming manmade architecture and objects on heron song is saying I'd like to thank franks for his beautiful images but even more for the passion that you infuse in them well thank you are there any questions from the audience here you have to hear from you but I won't actually share one from online because obviously you few photograph places all over the world you've told us about your passion for the area in which you live but way had a question what is your favorite place on the planet oh that's like asking a parent to choose from among his children right well I would say that the monterey bay is very close to my heart and that's why I lived there in santa cruz and that's also of ivy do our workshops there because I know so much about the area and I would like to share it with other people haven't they come from other cities and sometimes from other countries I'm also very fond of uh of the okavango delta in botswana where I did a lot of work I have very deep passions about madagascar this big island off the east coast of africa and the young very found of certain islands off antarctica like south georgia but it's it's difficult not to like any of these places that they're still vital representation of the natural world because you worked very closely with your wife christians your videographer and she also has got some beautiful images that she's been sharing and you say you do actually sometimes you still still images from her video to your work yes we've already shown some video clips in in other programs and there will be another one coming up tomorrow you have a question uh yeah so I imagine that through the history of national geographic they published quite a few stories about say albatrosses right but ah I'm sure you can always find the new angle to show the story one more time in like different light or anything but I was wondering what triggers those stories for you like what happens to make you do that new angle on this story that's an excellent question indeed even when national geographic has featured a story about a particular animal mother can be a new angle for instance those chimpanzees when it was discovered that you have one community you're started using three branches as primitive spears doubtless the new angle I've been a scientist discover something new about albatrosses the way they fly around the world that could trigger a new story so you need to think journalistically and for that reason photographers who worked for the national geographic often have a newspaper background not many of them start as nature photographers question I know that you ah within the last year or so did another article for national geographic and it was about cheetahs and it was about the supermom and um I love cheetahs personally myself and I am wondering you've mentioned even in in this class that she does armature subject so did you have in your mind before you went there supermom or was that something that while you were there you were looking for what that angle was or how did you get to the point of coming up with that with such a mixture subject cheetahs indeed have been photographed and filmed very often so it's not easy to come up with a new angle but in the course of doing the research and talking that scientist you I became very intrigued by this notion that some cheetah mothers are better than others at raising offspring and in fact there's a handful of him that account for most of the young months that are now running around in the serengeti and that gave me the idea that the you know the approach of highlighting the achievements of certain exceptional mothers could be an interesting part of the story tomorrow another question so I was wondering like what um sources for your search he used I mean it's a new angle it's probably wasn't published in traditional photographic yet what sources of information that I go to I read a lot of different publications I read quite a few science publications the new scientist is an excellent magazine that every week has new stories from different sciences I read the newspapers you know I I gather information constantly I go to conferences I've quite a few scientists as friends town great question actually from our online audience is saying I want a efron sees everything with his eyes as if his eyes were cameras as I do with my own eyes does that make sense that's interesting are my eyes cameras yeah uh I think it's the mind's eye that that functions more like a camera when you learn how to focus it the eyes themselves do not make any critical decisions it's the mind side it does make sense and I know you've totally embraced the digital technology you ever find yourself going back a shooting film I haven't touched the roll of film dug in more than ten years for a couple of years I kept a few rolls in my refrigerator thinking that I would take them out but no I haven't felt the compulsion to do that maybe one day I will just out of curiosity see to see what images would look like but then I would probably shoot them side by side with a film camera and a digital camera and compare the differences that would be an interesting experiment

Class Description

Join world-renowned National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting for two days of instruction and inspiration that will change the way you look at photography and what you can do with your own camera.

With experiences from three decades of work in wild places – from the Amazon to Antarctica, Frans will introduce you to new ways to capture the wonders of the natural world with a camera. His class includes presentations about creative ideas and technical skills, and also features landscape and wildlife photography instruction during special field workshop sessions at prime photographic destinations along the California coast — Frans’s home ground for the past 30 years. The course will conclude with a critique of images submitted by viewers.

If you’re passionate about nature photography and want to improve your own photographic vision, you will be inspired by this unique course from a master photographer and teacher.