Using the Visual Arts for Conservation

A hiker on the Appalachian Trail on the summit of Mount Moosilauke in New Hampshire's White Mountains.

A hiker on the Appalachian Trail on the summit of Mount Moosilauke in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

Those of you who follow my work probably know that the majority of my photography is done to promote land conservation projects, primarily in New England. How I got there is a long story (I was a business major in college in Illinois with dreams of managing rock bands!,) but one thing that had a major influence on steering me in that direction was my first experience with New Hampshire’s White Mountains after moving to New England 25 years ago. I had seen the Rocky Mountains and Yosemite as a kid on family vacations, but my family wasn’t much for the outdoors, so I never went on a hike until I came to New England.

For a young twenty-something flatlander, hiking in the White Mountains was a dramatic eye-opening experience. After only a couple of hours of driving from Boston, I could set out to get deep into wild glacial cirques or high up on alpine ridges. I was quickly inspired to get into photography and I was further inspired to get involved with conservation groups after learning of the successful efforts to protect the White Mountains nearly a century before.

I could never have imagined 25 years ago that the wilderness character of “The Whites” would be at risk in 2013, but it is, thanks to a proposal to build 180 miles of transmission lines through New Hampshire. Ten miles of this line will be built in the White Mountain National Forest, including a ridge line crossing of The Appalachian Trail. So I am fighting this proposal the best way I know how, through photography and in this case video. I truly believe in the power of the visual arts to effect change, and I’m looking forward to spending the year producing a 30-minute documentary called The Power of Place. I’m funding the film through a Kickstarter campaign, which ends tomorrow night, and I hope you’ll take a look at my pitch below: