For my entire adult life, my landscape photography has served as an expression of my feelings about my relationship with nature. To put a finer point on it, there are times, when I am immersed in nature, that I feel an intense sense of awe and joy and am humbled by the realization that I am but one tiny speck in the Web of Life, yet an integral part of it. It is my feelings at such moments that I've tried to capture in my photographs.
However, because we humans have for so long asserted our dominion over the planet by pumping huge quantities of carbon into the atmosphere, polluting our water and air, and altering the natural balance of plant and animal species, the Web of Life has been unraveling at a rate that we have never before seen. The result is that we are now at a crucial juncture in human history. Our future depends on decisive action.
Certainly, Earth has seen dramatic changes throughout its 4.5-billion years, and such changes will continue, apart from human influence. But the rate at which the global ecology is now changing, and the degree to which is it likely to change in the coming decades, are primarily due to human influences. In fact, if we don't take decisive action immediately (and maybe even if we do), our grandchildren and subsequent generations will experience unimaginable environmental and social challenges. This is a terrible, irresponsible legacy to leave them.
This concern casts a certain light on my photography. While photography remains for me a form of deep personal expression, it has also evolved into a celebration of the natural beauty that still, tenuously, exists on this planet. If the word "tenuously" sounds a bit pessimistic, I encourage you to read Eaarth by Bill McKibben, whose premise is that we now live on a new and unpredictable planet, and Storms of My Grandchildren by James Hansen, a preeminent environmental scientist who connects the dots among the myriad changes that are now underway and will be unfolding over the coming decades. Its not a pretty picture.
Yet, I continue to make pretty pictures. Why? I want to show others what we are destroying and what we so desperately need to preserve. I want to show people who might not have access to places of great natural beauty that Earth is precious, fragile, and -- as far as we know -- unique. I want to show that a healthily functioning Web of Life is essential to our physical and spiritual wellbeing, and that we must take action now to repair and protect it, for our own good, for our own survival. We must put aside our differences and join together across the globe to heal the Web of Life. That should be our highest priority. My hope is that my photographs will contribute in some small way to heightening our awareness of the value of the Web of Life and the need to heal and protect it.
I explain my personal philosophy in greater depth here.