Understanding Nature through Photography: An Empirical Analysis of the Intents of Nature Photographers and the Preparatory Process

Naoyuki Ohara, Yasuhiro Yamanaka, Gregory Trencher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examined the intent, preparatory processes and challenges of nature photographers mainly shooting plants and animals in northern Japan. Findings revealed efforts to actively absorb scientific knowledge related to subjects during the preparatory process. Thus, a core intention is to capture nature in a scientifically credible manner, thereby demonstrating intimate understanding of subjects acquired from both scientific knowledge and first-hand field observations. In constructing their self-identity and attributing purpose to their work, photographers are grappling with internal tensions and contradictions when deciding the optimal distance to place between their field and related professions such as stock photography and artistic expression. We also observed cases where the original intentions of scientifically credible images from nature photographers might be lost as images are freely diffused via digital stock photo libraries. This harbors implications for the ability of the public to knowingly view photographs with a sort of “quality assurance” based on natural science.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1053-1068
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Communication
Volume13
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Nov 17

Keywords

  • Nature photography
  • environmental advocacy
  • nature photographer
  • stock photography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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