Environmental photo festival wants your best (Earth) shots

Vacuuming taxidemry
© Ken Walton

A new photography platform, EarthShot, encourages engagement with the environment, culminating in an epic crowd-based exhibit to be held in California.

In 1948, British astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle predicted that when space travel allowed us to glimpse our planet from afar, the view would change us forever. "Once a photograph of the Earth, taken from the outside, is available," he mused, "a new idea as powerful as any in history will be let loose." Twenty years later, that image came to be. On Christmas Eve of 1968, Apollo 8 astronauts photographed our home planet rising in all of its glory. The iconic photo, known as Earthrise, became a driving force in the burgeoning green movement of the 1970s, showing not only the vulnerability of our planet, but its majesty as well. Just look at this beauty.

EarthriseNASA/IAU/Public Domain
Fast-forward 50 years and Earthrise continues to inspire, as evidenced by a new organization called EarthShot, a collaboration between a team of eco-minded photographers and the Planning and Conservation League. The group explains:

"The image of the earth taken from space prompted a cognitive shift for human society. For the first time we could see clearly that the earth is a bounded, finite space. We take our name and inspiration from this photograph – we see the urgency of addressing and reversing environmental decline as a moonshot. EarthShot seeks to increase citizen engagement with and thinking about the environment by encouraging citizen stakeholders to go out and make their own images of the environment."

Every two weeks throughout 2019, EarthShot will announce a new brief – each a different assignment to help engage and inspire. Submissions will be curated by a rotating panel of judges; the selected images will be included in a major exhibition at the Harvey Milk Photo Center in San Francisco from March to April of 2020.

The first brief, for example, is about nature – real and simulated – in the city. (If you're wondering what that might look like, let the image on the top be your guide.)

The upcoming briefs are all equally interesting, and I love thinking about how they might inspire. They would work equally well for creative types in a rut (raises hand) to parents looking for an engaging eco-activity to share with their children (raises other hand) – and everything in-between. That the whole shebang culminates with an exhibit is the icing on the cake.

We citizen photographers may not be astronauts changing the world from our spacecrafts, but that doesn't mean we can't be a part of a community working creatively to save the mothership. Few artistic mediums are as persuasive as photography, so why not put that power to good use?

For more information, visit EarthShot's Facebook page or Instagram account.

Environmental photo festival wants your best (Earth) shots
A new photography platform, EarthShot, encourages engagement with the environment, culminating in an epic crowd-based exhibit to be held in California.

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