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November 25th, 2009

Four trends to watch in online photography use

Posted by liveBooks

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of giving a presentation to members of the conservation, media, and photography communities as part of the WildSpeak program at The WILD Foundation‘s World Wilderness Congress in Merida, Mexico. WildSpeak was created by the International League of Conservation Photographers, four days of presentations showing conservation organizations the power of visual storytelling and persuading them to make more room in their budgets for collaboration with conservation photographers.

The presentation I was part of, “New Media and Creating the Groundswell,” focused on using new online tools to disseminate conservation messages. The other speakers introduced me to several fascinating initiatives that I want to share with the RESOLVE community — by synthesizing photography, education, technology, and social action, they highlight trends that I believe will become increasingly important as the new media landscape evolves.

ARKive_WildscreenCollect and Contextualize
is an initiative by Wildscreen to create a digital library of text, photos, and video of a huge number of the world’s animal and plant species. In some ways, the vast number of images available online do not become truly useful and powerful until they are organized and searchable in a collection like this.

LandScope_MapOrganize Geographically
Frank Biasi, director of Conservation Projects for National Geographic Maps, demonstrated two projects he’s working on that are using maps as the main navigation tool for a site. The Global Action Atlas helps connect people with social action opportunities in specific areas of the world, and is a map-based resource for the land-protection community and the public. As geotagging becomes automatic and people interact more across all geographic barriers,  information organized around a map structure will undoubtedly increase.
WildCoastMash Up Media
WildCoast is the perfect example of a non-profit taking their message far beyond the common trap of “preaching to the choir.” By signing up a sexy model and a Lucha Libre celebrity, this organization focused on saving coastal ecosystems won major victories for sea creatures. They also disseminate much of their information as comics and animated videos, something that Médecins Sans Frontières has also explored with their beautiful graphic novel, The Photographer.

Pandemic_LabsCreate Endless Collaboration
Matt Peters, the founder of Pandemic Labs, which ran social media strategy for the entire Wild9 congress, wrapped up with a wonderful presentation about the way online information tools can help keep people who connect at events like Wild9 connected and moving forward with their ideas long after the sessions end.

The Wild9 Live page collected blog posts in three languages, tweets about Wild9, live streams of many presenters, and Qik videos streamed from delegates’ cell phones, letting people from around the world (they received hits from around 80 countries) feel like they were part of the congress. And, possibly more important, now all that information is archived and available online. You can see the presentation videos at the Wild9 USTREAM page and even check out my presentation about creating clean, easy-to-navigate websites that drive visitors to act, not just look.


  1. November 25th, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Twitted by jeffcurto

    […] This post was Twitted by jeffcurto […]

  2. November 25th, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Pete Brook


    In some ways the first effort by Arkive overlaps with E.O. Wilson’s Encyclopaedia of Life: It was established two years ago – a result of his TED Prize.

    The EOL calls for user photographs (Uploaded from Flickr).

    I hope the two projects don’t compete with, or detract from, one another.

  3. November 25th, 2009 at 5:49 pm


    Social Media and Online communication are also environmentally better — much better to exchange text and photos with the electrons of Social Media than with all the paper and chemicals of printing letters and all the photographs.

    I know many others have noted this and what I am saying is not that new, but I wanted to bring it up as environmentalist.

    The only problem with Social Media online is that it is not private and I don’t know, from what I have read if it can ever really be totally private, so don’t expect confidentiality or privacy – but with Social Action and Social Media who cares.

    Also, there can be a problem with Copyrights and All Rights Reserved as on many Social Media platforms, as most photos on them can be saved to a person’s computer without the photographer ever knowing.

    But if what you are doing is public, then it should be fine. The majority of photos I put online are just 72 dpi anyway – right for the Internet, but not so great for printing up!!

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