This week, one of the most important grants of the year was announced, the Emerging Photographer Fund from David Alan Harvey and BURN Magazine. This year, $15,000 is being given away to photographers of any discipline, who are seeking funding to continue their long-term photographic work. I was lucky enough to receive the first of these grants back in 2008 and I can assure you that is well worth your time applying. Last year I wrote a post explaining what the grant had done for me, in terms of my professional development, which you can read here.
Earlier this week, one of my most recent projects ‘China’s Fragile Forests’ was published on Burn Magazine. It’s a perfect venue for the work and I thank David for helping the issue reach more people.
The deadline for the Emerging Photographer Fund is May 15th, 2012. So, start getting that application together. Or, if you have more images to shoot, stop reading this and get out there taking some pictures! Good luck!
For regular readers who have stopped by over the past few weeks, I must apologise for the lack of posts recently. The past couple of months were busier than I expected and blogging kept getting pushed back further and further down my list of things ‘to do’. Needless to say, I am back and will endeavor to post as regularly as possible in the new year. This is a new year’s resolution at the top of my list!
First up is an interview that I did for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting recently, talking about my project from last summer on ‘China’s Fragile Forests’, looking at the current threats to China’s Forests. I hope it gives you some insights into my project and how I approached it. Stay tuned for more updates on this project in the new year!
This week the Asia Society and I launched a new collaborative project which brings together 4(!) brand new multimedia pieces, focusing on my Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting on issues surrounding the disspaearance of China’s wetlands.
As regular readers here will know, this is is a project that I began last year and have continued to develop, this time with the assistance of the Asia Society.
I am excited to launch this new portal as it brings together all 7 multimedia pieces from across China, giving viewers a new in-depth look at the country’s wetlands.
You can dip in and view one or two pieces, or go for the full experience and watch all seven. Either way, I very much hope you enjoy the pieces and they help you to understand some of the complex issues which are affecting and threatening the country’s waterways.
If you have any questions at all about the production, please feel free to ask them blow in the comments section.
“Is it always like this?” I ask one of the park wardens, as I weave my way through the hundreds of tourists, all shuffling to get into the regimented lines funneling them into the park’s gates. “Well, this is peak season. There could be up to 10,000 people going into the park today,” he replies. This is the definition of mass tourism and it is taking place before me on a warm July morning in the mountains of northern Sichuan, at the gates of one of the country’s most famous tourist destinations, the Jiuzhaigou National Park.
Nestled high in the remote mountains of northern Sichuan, the Jiuzhaigou National Park is a spectacular area composed a series of valleys, containing a myriad of breathtaking turquoise lakes, rivers and waterfalls. They are surrounded by temperate broad-leaf forests that are home to the giant panda, red panda and golden monkey, among many other species. Its topography has been shaped over millennia by tectonic activity and glacial erosion which has created an entrancing visual setting.
It is this unique setting that has caused the rise in popularity of this park since the early 1990s, when it was awarded Unesco World Heritage status. Since then, visitor numbers have increased year by year. In 2007, it was estimated that 2.5 million people visited the Jiuzhaigou Park.
As tourists enter, they are bused between popular locations within the boundaries of the protected area. They regularly stop to jump off the buses, take pictures and then immediately return to their transportation to continue to the next spot. Their movements are tightly restricted to boardwalks which result in surprisingly little direct impact to the local ecosystems. The relatively small 720 sq. km. of valleys that make up the park, are arguably the best protected in the whole of China.
A woman holds tea leaves collected from a plantation nestled in the remote mountainous valleys of northern Sichuan. Tea plantations are some of the projects being targeted by the EU-China Biodiversity Programme to promote sustainable harvesting in the region.
Haze enveloped the mountains as our car pushed further up the steep valleys into northern Sichuan. The green hills that fluttered past our window were a patchwork of forests, cleared areas and fields of maize. The road wound through the vertiginous ravines as we climbed steadily higher, pushing further towards the small town of Pingwu, nestled deep in the mountains.
I was travelling with a delegation from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the EU-China Biodiversity Program (ECBP) whose aim was to visit a number of sites in northern Sichuan where they have been sponsoring projects. The goals of these projects are to promote sustainable harvesting as an alternative to the exploitation and unsustainable collection of the forest’s resources that has been occurring in the region for many decades.
“China is one of the world’s 12 mega-biodiversity countries, but during the past decades we have had amazing economic development, so we are facing serious problems of biodiversity loss,” explained the UNDP’s Lu Chunming as our car snaked up a hillside to the first of our intended sites.
I am really delighted to share the news here on my blog that my multimedia piece, ‘Dongting: A Lake In Flux” recently won 1st Prize in the prestigious British Press Photographer’s Year 2011. These awards highlight some of the best wotk from British photographers working around the world, so am honoured to be included in their list of awardees this year. I am also especially grateful to the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting who sponsored the production of this work last year, as part of my Threatened Waters Project.
An exhibition of all the awarded work is now on at the National Theatre in London and runs from the 18th July to the 4th September. If you’re passing by, drop in and see some of the incredible work on show.
I begin this month with the first installment from my travels throughout the south-west of China, the region hardest hit by deforestation in the late 20th Century and currently facing the most challenges as the Chinese people struggle to find a balance with their forest resources.
Please find below the first of my installments from the field. There are many more to come in the coming weeks. As ever, I look forward to your thoughts!
Felled trees in northern Sichuan Province. 2011
Forest ecosystems throughout the world are key to the livelihoods of over 1.6 billion people. They cover 31 percent of the world’s land area, are home to over 300 million people, and contain 80 percent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity.
Thirty percent of forests worldwide also produce both wood and non-wood products that account for a trade of over $300 billion worldwide, per year. It is this trade that is threatening the planet’s remaining forests, as developing nations battle to find a sustainable relationship with their natural resources.
Followers of my blog will know that since last summer, I have been working on a project photographing and creating multimedia reports about the state of China’s wetlands, sponsored by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
The above video is the third in a series of seven that I am producing. Four and five are already complete, with six and seven coming very soon, however, I am working with a well known organisation to launch these as one package in the coming months. Much more on this soon…
I hope you enjoy the above video which highlights the plight of Dongting Lake, one of China’s most vital water systems. To view the first two installments of these videos, please head to my Vimeo channel here.
March 15-27 saw the holding of the Washington DC Environmental Film Festival in America’s capital. It was a showcase of short films made about environmental issues around the world and I was lucky enough to have been invited to show some of my recent work from China, as part of the presentation given by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
Even though I wasn’t there myself, this was a wonderful opportunity to spread the message about my work on wetlands issues in China and bring this issue to a new audience. The above video is from the beginning of the Pulitzer Center’s presentation, given by Jon Sawyer, the Pulitzer Center’s Director. I’m proud and flattered that they led their presentation with my recent piece on the plight of Dongting Lake, in central China. You can watch the piece by watching the video above.
For more information about the film festival, here is their Missions Statement and outline from their website:
The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital seeks to further the public’s understanding of environmental issues – and solutions – through the power of film and thought-provoking discussions with environmental experts and filmmakers. The Festival is a platform that fosters environmental awareness and action.
Founded in 1993, the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital has become one of the world’s largest and most influential showcases of environmental film and a major collaborative cultural event in Washington, D.C. Each March the Festival presents a diverse selection of high quality environmental films, including many Washington, D.C., U.S. and world premieres. Documentaries, features, animations and shorts are shown, as well as archival, experimental and children’s films at venues throughout the city. Films are screened at partnering museums, embassies, libraries, universities and local theaters and are attended by large audiences. Selected to provide fresh perspectives on global environmental issues, most Festival films are accompanied by discussions with filmmakers, environmental experts and special guests, including national decision makers and thought leaders, and are free to the public. The Festival’s Web site serves as a global resource for environmental film throughout the year.
If you happen to be in Washingotn DC this week, you may want to drop by the Newseum to check out a slideshow that will be on show in the main lobby. The show is being hosted by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and National Geographic Society to mark World Water Day, showing images from around the world depicting the global water crisis.
World Water Day | Newseum | Pulitzer Center
I’m very happy to have a couple of my images from China included in the show. The show runs from March 17 to April 1, so should hopefully reach out to many people passing through the main atrium in the Newseum. If you’re in town, stop by and let me know how it looks!