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Communicating the Environment Beyond Photography


Michelle I. Seelig

Communicating the Environment Beyond Photography is a modern look at how photographers visualize what is happening to people and places on a changing planet. Michelle I. Seelig draws attention to what compels photographers to focus on these important messages, what tools they are using to advocate for just causes, and how photographers engage directly with citizens in a meaningful conversation beyond the photograph. Photographers continue to document the land and nature as they always have; however, today they use all media to advocate wide-ranging environmental concerns. Photographers, filmmakers, and environmentalists engage the public with visual and technologically driven content that is both affordable and portable, allowing advocacy to transcend boundaries in the global community previously overlooked by traditional media. This innovative book showcases strategies practiced by photographers, environmentalists, and advocacy groups in the twenty-first century and will serve as inspiration for future advocates of environmental issues and other important and just causes. Accessible and user-friendly, Communicating the Environment Beyond Photography is a must-read for both future photographers and individuals interested in communicating and advocating for environmental and social change.
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Conclusion: A Better Tomorrow?



The thread running through this book is that photographers have been and continue to be visual advocates for the environment. In spite of all the wrongs we have perpetrated on Earth, photographers and all sorts of people are actively coming together for a better tomorrow. Environmentalism in the 21st century involves hard work and determination by photographers, environmentalists, some in government, and others to get the information to the public and decision makers about what is happening to people, places, and spaces on a changing planet. Much of this has materialized through alternative modes of communication, and activists have done well to circumvent and challenge the status quo, and will continue to do so.

This book has presented the evolution of the photographer as an agent for just causes, one of which has been the environment. I started with the historical developments and ideological importance of the photograph as a social construction (see Ch. 1). I offered a reflection of past practices of social documentation to arrive at photos constructed purposefully to shed light on some aspect of society and advocate for social reform. Discussed in Chapter 2, these early photographers put in motion the photograph as part of agency for change. This premise continues today, but extends to all mediated content and emerging technologies. Then, as now, photographers believe what they are seeing is unfair, unjust, or discriminatory, so they document with all media so that others see what they see: our direct infliction...

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