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Andy Morrison

Top 40 Nature Photographs

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The International League of Conservation Photographers put together a list of the top 40 nature photos in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. There are some wonderful and recognizable photos in the bunch. Here is the link. Of course these selections could be endlessly debated, and isn't that the beauty of photography.

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... of course these selections could be endlessly debated...

 

Too true!

 

Why Skerry and Doubilet, particularly as the conservation aspect of three of the four images is a bit tenuous?

 

Tim

 

:)

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...and debate I would!

 

Who decided that these were the top nature photographs of all time? Many good photos, but c'mon! The Top Forty Nature Photographs of all time? What crap.

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...and debate I would!

 

I'm with you Harry. I think they got Mr. Adams and Mr. White right and I'll sign up for the Anders shoot from the moon but the rest are interesting choices.

 

Actually I 'm glad I don't have to pick.

 

Steve

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Just curious to understand why you think Skerry and Doubilet's work is "tenuous".

 

What have the images from Doubilet and Skerry got to do with the theme of conservation?

 

To be explicit, are their images included as created by recognisable names, rather than as the best examplars of the theme?

 

Tim

 

:lol:

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What have the images from Doubilet and Skerry got to do with the theme of conservation?

 

To be explicit, are their images included as created by recognisable names, rather than as the best examplars of the theme?

 

Tim

 

:lol:

 

I don't think you could say that AA's photos are any more or less examples of the conservation theme and his name is certainly more recognisable than Doubilet and Skerry.

Besides us underwater photogs, are DD and Skerry that well known to the public at large any more than the other photographers included? We divers are a small sample indeed.

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Whoever did the picking of the 40 pictures was clearly looking mostly at old National Geographics and not considering pictures from most of the rest of the world. And granted, National Geographic photographers have taken many superb pictures, as they should have with the budgets they've been given to work with. But there are a huge number of great nature and conservation pictures taken by other photographers, as is readily apparent by looking at the results of any Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest each and every year.

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

 

Fred

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I think Fred spots an interesting (and now he's said it, obvious) trend that it is a noticeably north-American centric list.

 

However, I think lists like this are excellent in generating press/interest. Getting people interested in the natural world and photography. Nobody is going to agree with it all. But that triggers the debate and gets people talking about it.

 

Generally I would say it is a good selection. Part of what makes a truly great nature photograph is one that stands the test of time. Is seen and remembered by millions. So lists like this will favour older images that have stood the test of time, rather that the latest and greatest.

 

I have seen this list being featured on blogs and websites around the world - which is exactly what it set out to do. Raise awareness for conservation.

 

Alex

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I think the title of 40 Top Nature Photographs has caused all the fuss.

 

Given that the ILCP photographers were asked to consider "factors such as aesthetics, uniqueness, historical and scientific significance, or contribution to conservation efforts" then really they have come up with "40 Really Significant Nature Photos".

 

Whether its' Peter Dombrovskis' Rock Island Bend (and image that has been credited with single-handidly stopping the damming of the Franklin River in the Tasmanian wilderness), or Brandenberg's Oryx (one of the first widely published images from a war-torn and newly independent Namibia) many of the images are the standard to which those who've followed aspire. If other photographers have 'surpassed' these images since, so be it, but you would hardly expect less given the way access to subjects has become so much easier and technology aids all aspects of image gathering as time passes.

 

Each images' significance has undoubtably been enhanced by the number of people who've seen it and been effected by it... NG distribution has done the job for many of the images, but I would also argue that photographs can help conservation to a greater degree in America than they can in many other parts of the world, due to the (historically) greater respect held for photographs (and photographers for that matter) in the States than in most other markets.

 

Doc White would probably have preferred to be jumping in with a feeding blue whale with a a 1DmIV or D3 getting 30 frames noise-free, contrast enhanceable, colour correctable, 1600 ISO images in the time he had to shoot two 100 ISO slides on his Nikonos, but hey, you do what you can at the time.

 

I'm not an apologist for the list, but those images do deserve some respect.

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What amazes me is that photographers, of all people, consistantly put way too much stock in contest results and "best of" lists. These lists are great for creating awareness like Alex stated but that's about it. Sometime I think people forget that photography is about story telling and not about gloifying one's ego. That is what makes so many of the NG photos so meaningful IMO. There are loads of photographers who can shoot a pretty picture, fewer who can shoot a picture that helps change the world.

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