Hanging by one arm off a cliff just to get the perfect shot may sound unnecessarily risky but for Doug Gimesy, an Australian conservation and wildlife photojournalist, it was just another day at the office.
“I would normally have a safety harness but I just didn’t that day,” Gimesy said. “And that was dangerous — let’s be honest.”
The risk, however, was rewarded and Gimesy successfully photographed a breastfeeding grey-headed flying fox for his photo-documentary “The Flying Night Gardeners.”
Gimesy values the role of visual media in conservation efforts and occasionally gives lectures on this topic.
“The thing that makes images incredibly powerful is that they transcend linguistic and geographic barriers,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what language you speak or whether you’re literate or where you live, an image is an image and it doesn’t need to be translated.”
This Friday, Gimesy will drop into Jackson to take part in Wild About Conservation, an event put on by the International League of Conservation Photographers, known as iLCP, and its partner, the Summit Nature Workshop. The evening is dedicated to visual storytelling and its role in conservation.
The free community part of Wild Speak West, a yearly networking and professional development event for iLCP fellows to meet in-person, will feature three keynote speakers: photographers Gimesy and Sandesh Kadur and videographer Katie Schuler. The speakers will discuss their current projects and share some of their work from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at the National Museum of Wildlife Art.
Schuler is one of the iLCP’s emerging fellows and the first-ever video fellow to join the iLCP. She currently has two projects, “Where Life Begins,” which focuses on Gwich’in culture and its dependence on caribou, and “Nigerians Fight to Protect the World’s Most Trafficked Mammal,” which tells the story of the African pangolin.
Schuler’s hope is that Wild About Conservation attendees “come away feeling inspired and engaged.” She sees her work, whether video or photography, as a window to that experience.
“I want to make beautiful images whether it is video or photography,” she said. “For me that is the first gateway to welcome people into a story and get them excited and interested in the topic.”
The iLCP was founded in 2005. Its focus is to achieve conservation goals through ethical photography and filmmaking, to set a standard of ethical principles and to use the best field practices when capturing images.
Susan Norton, iLCP’s executive director, said, “the ethical word and concept is key to iLCP.”
“It’s wonderful that people all over the world can take photos, but we know that sometimes people aren’t thinking about the welfare of the wildlife that they are photographing, the landscapes on which they are walking, the environment that they are documenting, the culture that they might be deciding that they are suddenly going to photograph and not thinking about the ethical implications of what they are doing.”
The iLCP hopes that through the talks and workshops led by the keynote speakers it can educate the community, raise awareness and excitement about conservation, and provide people with resources to engage in conservation efforts. Attendees will learn about the current and past projects that speakers are working on as well as the methods used by conservation photographers and the importance of visual storytelling. ￼