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This article is Copyright 2005, James Morrissey, and may not, in part or in whole, be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. The images in this article are the property of Artie Morris and have been licensed to James Morrissey and the NWP Photo Forum for the purpose of this interview.
Part III: The Environment
(c) Artie Morris
JM: Where are you with environmental issues as a bird photographer?
AM: I donate images to Florida Audubon and to Manomet Bird Observatory among others. I know that people seeing my stuff will be motivated to do something for the environment. I guess, though, that at some level you can call me a bit of an environmental pessimist.
JM: What do you mean by that?
AM: Let me give you an example. They recently found an Ivory-billed Woodpecker and they are going to try to protect some of the land in Louisiana and Texas from development. Maybe a couple of pairs will hang on, maybe not. (The bird was thought to be extinct for decades.) But whether or not they save a few ivory-billeds, the fact is that humans, as a species, are destroying the planet. With regard to over-population, air and water pollution, and the greenhouse effect and global warming, we are just sticking our head in the sand while thinking, “We are humans. When the problems become really severe, we will be able to fix them. I do not believe that that is going to happen... We are driving ourselves towards extinction.
I know a woman photographer who claims to be an environmentalist, but she lives in a huge, obscene condo complex. It is ironic. She lives in this huge glass and concrete and metal condo, one of many, right in the middle of the mangrove swamps that she is trying to protect. “I have my condo, but don't you try to build another one within 500 miles of here.”
JM: You mentioned NANPA, the North American Nature Photography Association.
AM: NANPA is a great group, not just photographers but editors and publishers and industry folks among others. And NANPA is starting to get involved with environmental issues. I have been to all but one of their Annual Summits and have made lots of great contacts at them. I try to do all that I can to contribute to this fine organization. At a NANPA Summit you have a chance to chat with lots of the world’s greatest photographers: Art Wolf, Tom Mangleson, Dewitt Jones, George Lepp, Darrell Gulin, Joe and MaryAnn McDonald, John Sexton, Jim Brandenberg (my hero), Franz Lanting, and too many more to mention.
(c) Artie Morris
JM: So would you say there are any decent community organizations that do great work?
AM: There are lots of great local organizations doing great things - and they are succeeding. However, the over-all picture does not look good to me. Look at what is happening with air and water - and with toxic poisons in the water, in the air, and even in the food that we eat. There are lots of great people standing up to save local places, but to me, the problems seem to be insurmountable.
If you are interested in learning more about Bird Photography from Artie Morris, he will be conducting a seminar in Dallas --
"The Art of Bird Photography; It Ain't Just Birds!" Weekend How-to Seminar
Presented by Photo Road Show
Dallas, Texas: November 5-6, 2005.
For full details, please visit his website: www.birdsasart.com/photoroadshow.htm.
You can also visit his home page at www.birdsasart.com.
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