In January of this year I applied to Blue Earth for sponsorship of my Green River Gorge Greenway documentary project. They sponsor projects from all over the world and have had clients who have gone on to influence world opinion and decision makers. Projects like Subhankar Banerjee's "Arctic National Wildlife Refuge" that changed the conversation about drilling in the Arctic National Refuge. Other projects ranging from climate change to the impacts of human conflict.
I really didn't expect to get accepted. I was competing with world class photographers but I wanted to take a chance and also I'd learn from the experience. Also it would help me later on as I developed a deeper level of skill and abilities as a photographer.
Up until this year my photography was a means to and end. The end being to bring the Green River Gorge and other wild areas to the attention of the public and to our elected officials. My hope was that by seeing what we are going to loose it would compel people to want to save it.
Now I had the opportunity, after stepping back from being a "Jack of all Trades" as a conservationist in rural southeast King County, to pursue my passion for photography. A passion that grew out of my work conserving places like the Green River Gorge Greenway. I could focus on the art and skill of photography through the documentary project.
Although my project wasn't accepted I had a plan B. Just a minor setback on a project I'm determined to accomplish. I received fiscal sponsorship through the Washington State Parks Foundation and Urban Sparks. A better fit for a local project anyway.
Later in April I met up with Blue Earth again at their annual conference, Collaborations for a Cause. I was really energized to be attending a conference that melded my passion for conservation with my love of photography. It didn't disappoint. I felt so at home with other change makers and was inspired by what was possible. I had found my tribe.
I've walked near fire, worked on the edge as a paramedic, paddled down rivers, rode my mt. bike on a thin ribbon of trail, doggedly advocated for conservation in an under represented community, and quietly contemplated the sound of water moving over stone but I'd never found a place where it could all come together in one place. Here were people who were traveling the world like me, taking risks to get the shot, who didn't want to settle for predictable days, and they wanted to use their photography for good.
What happened next was a dream come true. I was asked to be on the board of the Blue Earth Alliance. I couldn't say no. To be able to work with such talented photographers and advocates for photography and social change was an opportunity of a life time. I knew that I would get far more out of it than I could give but I also realized that my years of experience doing direct conservation work would be valued by Blue Earth.
So starts my parallel journey to develop my own project and skills as a photographer and participate in a nonprofit that helps other photographers accomplish their documentary projects too.
It is going to be a great year!
Take a look at Blue Earth Alliance. Stay tuned for our new website coming to you soon!