The business that I had built as a regional photographer, just outside of the D.C. Metro, focused on making impactful and authentic imagery accessible to a regionally focused spectrum of artists, makers, destination marketing organizations (Tourism CVB's with an emphasis on micro-tourism and eco-tourism), adventure company's and outfitters, aswell as economic development and cultural change committees and organizations.
I did majestic landscape photography"on the side". Selling stock art through premium stock photo agencies like Offset, Shutterstock, and Getty Images. I also sold limited edition prints of select photos and shared the proceeds with organizations that work to educate, preserve, and protect wild places.
I always felt like I was simultaneously trying to dedicate myself to two different pursuits. I felt at odds with myself.
So I had a look inside, under my hood, to see what my heart was aligned with. I knew that I love wild places; bogs, meadows, river basins, deserts, tundras, and mountains, they are all part of who I am. In fact I grew up within, among, and was shaped by many of them.
But I also do not love that we, contemporary humans, abuse the Earth through our cultural and often necessitated lack of understanding of the interdependent relationship we have with the natural world. It pains me.
So, I asked myself “what can I do?”; "What is most important to me?" "In what manner does my passion flow effortlessly?" "What are my core values?" My answer was "I can write, I have professional camera gear, a deep knowledge of ecosystems, and a contagious passion for the natural world". Then I asked myself, "How can I use these tools and resources to serve and to inspire in others an embodied commitment to stewardship?"
- Conservation, Preservation, and Restoration.
- Placemaking and cross-cultural environments of mutual accessibility.
- A right to life, for all the web that connects every life form to one another.
So, what can I do about these? What do I have to contribute? And how may I lend my voice to the near and global conversations? My answer is "I can write, I have professional camera gear and skills, a deep knowledge of ecosystems, I enjoy and have decades of experience as an educator and mentor, and a contagious passion for the natural world flows through me".
Something was still missing at that point. I needed a means or a bridge to connect service to my values in what I did as a professional and as a citizen. I found another question, "How can I use what I have right now, the skills and resources to serve and to inspire in others an embodied commitment to stewardship gracefully and enhance environmental understanding, preservation and restoration, and equanimity for life forms regardless of how or even if they 'identify'? throughout the social, cultural, political, and economic ideologies"
I then began a three-month process to realign my business with my resources, skills and network to focus on lending my voice to these four core values.
Learn More About The Potomac Highland Region and its Conservation
West Virginia Land Trust - Reunited, and it Feels So Good
West Virginia Highlands Conservancy - Red Spruce Restoration
The Central Appalachian Spruce Restoration Initiative (CASRI) - Restoring WV Spruce Means Cleaner Air
Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge - volunteer projects on the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge
The Friends of the nation's 500th National Wildlife Refuge - to preserve and enhance the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge