Famed Photographers Sell Prints for Relief in Ukraine

All profits from the fine art images will go for humanitarian relief.

polar bear mother with cubs
"Polar Bear Mother with Cubs".

Norbert Rosing / courtesy of Vital Impacts

Well-known photographers are donating the profits from their images to benefit humanitarian relief in Ukraine.

Vital Impacts is a nonprofit founded by award-winning photographer Ami Vitale and visual journalist Eileen Mignoni. Normally, the group sells fine arts images with proceeds benefiting organizations that work to sustain the planet. But they’ve turned their focus to support those caught in conflict zones.

More than 100 National Geographic photographers have donated their images for the initiative and 100% of profits will be donated to Direct Relief, a nonprofit that allocates funds to areas of the world in need of humanitarian aid. Direct Relief has provided more than 48 tons of medical aid since the war began.

“We carefully selected Direct Relief because of their reputation,” Vitale tells Treehugger. For 25 years, Vitale has been reporting on how people have had an impact on the planet.

“We want our donation to have the greatest possible impact and thanks to a generous benefactor, all administrative costs for this non profit are covered. This means that 100% of the donations we raise will go to the people who need it most on the ground.”

Merced River Yosemite Valley
"Merced River Yosemite Valley".

Michael Melford / courtesy of Vital Impacts

Many of the photographers in the sale have ties to Ukraine.

Justyna Mielnikiewicz and Dina Litovsky are Ukrainian. Mielnikiewicz is still in Ukraine and was actively posting on social media about events happening there up until last week. David Guttenfelder has reported extensively there. John Stanmeyer and Ismail Ferdous have gone to Ukraine to report from there.

emperor penguins
"Emperor Reflections".

Paul Nicklen / courtesy of Vital Impacts

Many of the other photographers in this sale, including Vitale, Ed Kashi, Guttenfelder, Andrea Bruce, Ferdous, Maggie Steber, Lynn Johnson, and Stephen Ferry, have spent years reporting on conflicts and their aftermath in locations around the world.

“When we announced this sale, the response was immediate,” Vitale says. “We sent the call out on a Friday. By Monday, we had more than 75 images. Everyone wanted to become engaged and do more to help.” 

The Role of Photography

"Cheetahs Roam Mara Naboisho Conservancy"
"Cheetahs Roam Mara Naboisho Conservancy".

Ken Geiger / courtesy of Vital Impacts

Photography is important in times of upheaval because it helps document what is happening.

“Photographers risk their lives, reporting crucial facts about the situation on the ground. They work in exceedingly difficult and dangerous conditions to help stir the world into action," Vitale says. "If it were not for the photographers who stayed to cover the brutal attack on a maternity hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine we would not have known that it had not been emptied of patients as Russia claimed."


James Balog / courtesy of Vital Impacts

“Photographers also remind us that we have more in common than the divisive discourse around the world would have us believe. Photography has the unique ability to transcend all languages and help us understand our deep connections to one another and to all of life on this planet," says Vitale.

"It is the ultimate tool for creating empathy, awareness and understanding across cultures; communities and countries. This sale is full of images that remind us all of surreal beauty and the enduring power of the human spirit."

spotted dolphins
"Spotted Dolphins".

Brian Skerry / courtesy of Vital Impacts

The photos in the collection include dolphins and polar bears, icebergs, and landscapes. The sale continues through April 20.

“The photographs in this sale are sublime and iconic," says Vitale. "There are a diverse range of images. Many have never been offered before so it's an opportunity to acquire unique, fine art, museum quality prints and we are getting a lot of response back about the quality and uniqueness."

View Article Sources
  1. award-winning photographer Ami Vitale