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March 4th, 2009

How to work with NGOs for photos with more impact 1

Posted by Garth Lenz

Garth Lenz’s photographs are beautiful and have won many awards. But, as he explains here, their real power comes from his collaborations with non-profit groups. Don’t miss his next post about how photographers can approach NGOs and develop mutually beneficial relationships with them.
Wetlands in Alberta, Canada. ©Garth Lenz

Wetlands in Alberta, Canada. ©Garth Lenz

One constant during the course of my career has been a close association with environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs). As an environmental photojournalist, motivated by a deep concern for the environment and the need to protect intact wilderness, working closely with committed activists and knowing that my images will play a significant role in their efforts has been one of the most rewarding and inspiring aspects of my work. I believe this has been a mutually beneficial relationship. My images have helped to shape public opinion and provided organizations with the material they need to advocate in a visually compelling way. In many situations, ENGOs have very graciously credited my work as being instrumental to their successes. In turn, the knowledge and contacts provided by ENGOs has greatly assisted in my understanding of these issues and has provided critical knowledge of various locales as well as the logistical support so important to successful fieldwork.

On occasion, groups have also directly commissioned me to produce imagery, and I have also raised money independently to undertake projects in order to furnish ENGOs with the images they need. Many of my most interesting and long-term projects have been possible only as a direct result of my longstanding relationship with these groups.

I have also given a number of visual presentations and tours in order to build support for some of the issues I have photographed and feel particularly strongly about. This has provided me with the opportunity to directly share my images with a large cross-section of people. Their feedback and response has helped me better understand the power of certain kinds of images, and that has been a great asset in my field work.

While my work with NGOs has mostly been with ENGOs, I think that any photographer whose work is devoted to promoting positive change, whether in environmental, humanitarian, or other issues would greatly benefit from a close relationship with NGOs dedicated to furthering these same goals.

Be Part of the RESOLUTION: Have you been able to get more traction with your images by working with NGOs?


  1. March 12th, 2009 at 6:02 pm


    Thank you!

  2. April 7th, 2009 at 10:17 pm


    hmm… informative

  3. April 7th, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    Garth Lenz

    Thanks folks! I appreciate the comments.

    All the best,

  4. April 15th, 2009 at 5:16 pm


    hm. really like it ))

  5. April 22nd, 2009 at 5:34 am


    hmm.. informative )

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