It’s good to talk.

I’ve been spending a lot of time photographing alone of late. For the most part, I can live with it; it does as they say, go with the territory. But every now and then, it’s good to talk. And to listen. And to learn. I’ve always enjoyed the stories of other photographers, bringing to my attention new techniques, fresh ideas, innovative thinking. I take solace too, from learning that others share the frustrations I felt were uniquely mine.

We’re social animals at heart. Even the most independent of us need to talk, to listen, to learn. The Scottish Nature Photography Festival (SNPF) is coming up in September and if like me, you spend much of your photographic time alone, this is an opportunity to take knowledge and inspiration from some of the best photographers around. And just as importantly perhaps, to come together, to blether away to like-minded practitioners, who share your highs and lows in this, the most exhilarating and frustrating of all leisure pursuits.

Myself and colleagues at The Wild Media Foundation have been running SNPF for 3 years and this year’s line-up is mouth-watering. I’m not going to reveal too much about the content but if you’ve a passion for storytelling, for nature photography or even just for nature (without the photography), this is a mustn’t-miss event.

MHA_173026

MHA_173141MHA_173075I’m not telling you this because I’m going to get rich on the back of SNPF. I recently met a group of Chinese photographers who, despite the language and cultural barriers, vividly conveyed their passion for conserving the natural world. In broken English we awkwardly addressed the pressing issues of the day and as we parted, one of them looked me in the eye and said: “It’s good to talk.” He’s right. He’s absolutely right and that’s why I think everyone who can, should come to SNPF. To get together, to be inspired but as much as anything, to talk. Talking about what matters to you can often make it matter to others.

It’s good to talk.

Get your tickets here.

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Pete – I attended the recent John Aitchison (wildlife cameraman on BBC series Hebrides, Frozen Planet +) event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. At the Book Festival event, alongside demonstrating that he is not a bad stills photographer(!), John read from his book ‘The Shark and the Albatross’, and spoke eloquently about the ethical dilemmas and conservation concerns he experiences as a wildlife cameraman. There was a poetry to his readings and a fascination to hearing the thoughts of the man behind the camera that we do not otherwise get from the images alone. I left feeling privileged at the insight provided into the views and experiences behind the footage. It also left me looking forward (even more) to the Scottish Nature Photography Festival. I have been attending the SNPF for a number of years now and I can honestly say that it provides two days of similar full-on inspiration and insight. The Festival adds layers to our appreciation and understanding of the images and image-makers that present. I find it an annual creative shot in the arm. It is good to talk and it is good to listen.

    To link to your previous Blog post, John Aitchison had a fittingly Conservation Hero-esque message to close his presentation at the Book Festival. When asked “what can we do to make a difference as individuals?” he cited Ansel Adams, saying that Adams set aside a few minutes every day to do something for conservation. If Adams were alive today, he remarked, he would spend a few minutes every day emailing politicians to facilitate positive conservation action. If all of us spend just a few minutes every day lobbying, publicising, and informing in the pursuit of positive change (and supporting the organisations doing the same), then we can all be Conservation Heroes and we (and subsequent generations) may end up living on a nicer Planet…

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