Tuesday, October 6, 2009
The International League of Conservation Photographers looks to expand its reach and influence with a new director
Just four years ago, a group of nature photographers assembled in Anchorage, Alaska, during the Eighth World Wilderness Congress to talk about how they could play a more pivotal role in the conservation movement. The list of people in attendance read like a who’s who in nature photography, with names that included Art Wolfe, David Doubilet, Gary Braasch and Robert Glenn Ketchum, just to rattle off a few. Out of that gathering, the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) was born.
As the Ninth World Wilderness Congress (WiLD9) gets under way next month in Mexico, the iLCP is at a crossroads of sorts, with a new executive director, a new initiative and a new visibility as it has quickly established itself as a major player within the conservation community.
Taking over the helm is Justin Black, who came by way of Mountain Light Photography, which was created by legendary photographer Galen Rowell, an iLCP honorary member and former OP columnist, and his wife, Barbara. With a promising career as a photographer and licensing specialist ahead of him, Black landed at Mountain Light in 1999, managing the marketing and licensing of the Rowells’ image collection, assisting Galen and teaching nature photography seminars.
“It was really important to me after Galen and Barbara died to stick around and make sure their legacy was intact,” Black says, “and that the company was on solid footing and headed in the right direction.”
Having accomplished that, the position at the iLCP came along at just the right time as he was moving back East—the group is located in Arlington, Va.—and Mittermeier, who travels extensively working in her own capacity as a conservation photographer, could expand her reach as the group’s president. It was at the recommendation of Jack Dykinga and Frans Lanting, both iLCP Fellows, that Mittermeier considered and then reached out to Black about the position.
“At the time, I wasn’t looking for a new director, but being well aware of Justin’s reputation, I recognized the opportunity and called him immediately,” Mittermeier explains. “Together, we created a role that would allow me to propel the iLCP into a whole new sphere, and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing since he came to work with me in June. I’m a big believer in serendipity, and Justin was nothing short of the perfect person at the perfect time—a true gift for the iLCP.”
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