Monday, September 7, 2015

Madagascar on Film, Fine Art Travel Photography

While I was studying photography at NYU in 2008 I started a photo series, "Threatened" which is compromised of singular portraits of endangered species from all around the world in their natural habitats.  My intent is to re-contextualize the way we see wildlife as trophy, and find the joy in hanging photographs on our wall and knowing we are taking part in the appreciation and conservation of our earth, rather than hanging carcasses on our wall feeling as if we've conquered our earth.  Earth is not a thing to conquer and we are simply a very small part of a much larger picture.  Since I've turned my main focus of my business to weddings and portraiture work in the last few years I've tried to maintain this series by doing one trip a year slowly adding to this project that I hope one day to turn into a book and show.

This year's trip was to Madagascar where almost every single animal is endangered because they are all endemic, and the natural habitat of Madagascar has been utterly decimated.   Approximately 95% of Madagascar's reptiles, 89% of its Flaura and 92% of its wildlife are only found there.   Many people, myself included before this trip, think of Madagascar as an island paradise untouched by man, but the reality is that there are 22 million people living in extreme poverty on the island.  It is one of the poorest countries in the world and over 90% of the natural habitat has been destroyed, mostly by slash and burning of the forests for charcoal.  As I've written about in other travel posts on this blog, one of the keys to conservation is responsible tourism and finding new revenue streams that encourages conservation.  Madagascar has a long way to go, but I do encourage people to visit this beautiful country and help support its future.  To learn more about how you can support conservation in Madagascar visit WWF. Seeing the lemurs up close and personal is hands down one of the most incredible wildlife encounters of my life and that's coming from a girl whose trekked with mountain gorillas, dove with great white sharks, sunbathed on a pebble beach with penguins and bottle fed lion cubs.  Lemurs have completely different temperaments than monkeys (who can be real assholes).  They're very sweet and not very timid so we had opportunities to get extremely close, even having them jump all over us in a sanctuary, which I'll talk more about in my next post.

I split the trip into two blog posts: the first touching on the jungles and canyons we visited and the second about the beaches and ocean at the end of the trip. 

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