Here at Holly Davison Photography, I strive to follow Leave No Trace principles and adhere to this comprehensive Code of Ethics put forth by the League of Landscape Photographers. Besides the League of Landscape Photographers which is an international effort, I am excited to now represent a growing movement here in the United States called Nature First. " Nature First is built on seven core principles that help communicate how each of us can enjoy nature photography responsibly. The Seven Principles of Nature First Photography were developed to help educate and guide both professional and recreational photographers in sustainable, minimal impact practices that will help preserve nature’s beautiful locations." Why is this so important to me? In 1971 Wendell Berry had the foresight to look at these beautiful places and pen these words,"...a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children; who has undertaken to cherish it and do it no damage, not because he is duty-bound, but because he loves the world and loves his children…" There are many reason photographers should work towards reducing their environmental impact, but for me Mr Berry's words ring true. I do it because I love these natural places, they are my sanctuary, and I love my children whose experiences of these outdoor treasures are just as important as my own.
Below are the Code of Ethics I pledge to follow as a member of these two organizations.
THE NATURE FIRST PRINCIPLES
- Prioritize the well-being of nature over photography.
- Educate yourself about the places you photograph.
- Reflect on the possible impact of your actions.
- Use discretion if sharing locations.
- Know and follow rules and regulations.
- Always follow Leave No Trace principles and strive to leave places better than you found them.
- Actively promote and educate others about these principles
LEAGUE OF LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHERS
- I inform myself about all rules and regulations relating to photography when visiting a natural area or public attraction.
- I do not knowingly step onto private property without permission even if the property appears abandoned.
- I stay on designated paths and trails. If there is no trail, I follow proper etiquette by educating myself on the principles of Leave No Trace.
- I aim for authenticity by photographing plants and animals in their natural habitat engaging in their normal behaviors.
- I inform myself about the plants and animals I intend to photograph. I avoid photographing them if they exhibit distress signals, and during times of physical strain or breeding seasons. If my presence is causing stress, I leave the area immediately.
- I help to protect the environment by picking up trash I find when in the field.
- I work to improve my photographic skills by using all my tools when making a composition. I do not move objects, pull plants or otherwise ‘tidy’ a scene. I move my position or wait patiently rather than attempt to influence an animal’s behavior or posture.
- I refrain from baiting (including sound baiting), or placing attractants to entice wildlife or influence their behavior. Also, I remove all artificial attractants I find in wild places that were placed there by others.
- I treat wild animals living in an urban environment, such as songbirds, with the same respect that I accord to those living in the wild. I consider their safety and well being before putting out seed. If I do, I research the proper natural organic food and follow proper procedures to ensure the cleanliness of the feeder to minimize the risk of disease. I locate the feeder to avoid cover for predators as well as potential in-flight collisions with reflective house windows.
- I keep rare species safe and intact by not broadcasting the location of a fragile area, plant or animal. I remove GPS data from my images before sharing them with others.
- I avoid stopping to photograph if it is likely to start a chain reaction resulting in other visitors crowding the area. I find another time or place to continue photographing.
- I ask permission before photographing an identifiable person.
- I treat all people with respect.
- I treat models with courtesy, repaying professionals with prints or fees for their work.
- I do not reimburse people where to do so would take advantage of their social or economic position or unduly influence them to pose for my picture.
- I am patient and courteous with non-photographers visiting a scene. I am creative and can adjust my expectations of the images I planned to make. I am open to new ideas as they present themselves to me.
- I am aware of my position and how it may interfere with the ability of the photographers and non-photographers around me to enjoy a scene.
- If someone wanders into my scene, I am courteous and will wait for them to move. I will consider adjusting my own position, or kindly asking them to move when they are ready.
- If I see someone violating the Code of Ethics, I will consider talking with them about the possible effects of their behavior. I will only do so if I do not perceive any threat to my personal safety. As an alternative, and if their behavior is particularly egregious, I will consider documenting the situation and reporting them to the appropriate authorities.
- I adopt this Code of Ethics and strive to adhere to these important principles.
- I am an ambassador of ethical conduct in the industry through my own behavior and by sharing these principles with other photographers and the public.
- I know and respect my physical limitations and keep myself out of harm’s way by avoiding situations where my health and safety or the health and safety of others could be put at risk by my actions.
- I educate myself about the weather, terrain, culture and potential hazards before visiting a new area.
- If I am leading a photo group, whether commercially or not, I ensure that the group members are informed about the Code of Ethics, potential hazards and other safety concerns, and that the group size is appropriate given the sensitivity of the place we are visiting.
- I am always forthcoming about my post-processing and refrain from representing my photographs as something they are not.