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Art Wolfe

Thank you for joining us for the inaugural IMPACT online exhibition, a new project exploring the blog medium as a venue for photographic work. RESOLVE is excited to be hosting this experimental new project.

By clicking on the links below the IMPACT logo, you can move through the exhibition, viewing galleries of images, all related to the idea of “Outside Looking In.” Each “gallery” will include a series of images a photographer has uploaded to their blog along with this same IMPACT logo.

At any time you can click on the IMPACT logo to be taken to back to this post, where all the participating photographers are listed. (The “next” button actually takes you to a random gallery, so keep clicking if you get a repeat.)

By allowing viewers to move between different photographer’s online galleries, we hope to gain exposure for their work while providing a multifaceted visual study of the chosen topic.

We also wanted to remind viewers of the important role photographers play around the world, so we asked participants to share images from a project where they had an impact or were impacted themselves. If inclined, they have also included a link to an organization that they believe is having a positive impact on the world. Please help us increase this project’s IMPACT by sharing it with your community.

The IMPACT Team: Yumi Goto, Miki Johnson, Paul O’Sullivan, Jeremy Wade Shockley

Gazi Nafis Ahmed: Inner Face

Daniel Beltra: Tropical Deforestation

Fabiano Busdraghi: Physics, adventure, poetry and photography in Antarctica

Shiho Fukada: No Retirement Plan

Sean Gallagher: Desertification Unseen

Bill Hatcher: New Zealand Masters of Sport

Ed Kashi: A “Fady” in Madagascar

Michael Kircher: Adventure for Healing

Pete Marovich: A Look Inside the Old Order

Sara Mayti: The Sound of a 4.16

Thomas Peschak: Saving the Most Important Fish In the Sea

Ian Shive: American National Parks

Jeremy Wade Shockley: The Mountain Kingdom

Art Wolfe: The Ganges River

Rachel Wolfe: Jamaica

How many people will ever see your photographs? If you’re planning to sell your images, it’s your responsibility to help people find them. Even if you’re a world-renowned nature photographer with your own T.V. show like Art Wolfe, building an audience can be as important as clicking a shutter. Here are seven tips from Art to help photographers drive traffic to their work. Sign up for Art’s free webinar on October 5 to learn how he makes his stunning images, or watch his archived first webinar here.
Aerial view of Lake Natron, spotted with a flock of flamingos. ©Art Wolfe

Aerial view of Lake Natron in Tanzania, spotted with a flock of flamingos. ©Art Wolfe

I’ve talked and written about how photographers need to look beyond the stock agencies to market their images. There are a host of pros and cons to these alternate business models, but the need to drive traffic to your website is always the tallest hurdle. No single approach will do. Instead, you need to attract attention, and keep it, by projecting your brand across a range of media platforms and by creating mutually beneficial collaborations. Here are some tips for how all kinds of photographers can do that.

1. Collaborate

Once you have a collection of images, see if you can create an association with other photographers to market a particular class of subjects. Photoshelter makes that easy with their Virtual Agencies, but there are several ways to accomplish the same thing. By grouping your work with that of other photographers, all of you can offer a wider selection of similarly themed work to potential buyers. My work is available alongside images from Thomas Mangelsen and David Doubilet at WILD, our virtual agency.

2. Organize

If each photographer does a good job of file naming and keywording, a buyer is more likely to find your image collection. Online galleries also allow you to display a larger selection of your work than an editor at an agency would allow. This is not an invitation to self-indulgence, however; show only your best or most saleable work.

3. Prioritize

I steer clear of microstock. If you can produce what the market demands in high volume, there is money to be made there, but it tends to encourage “treadmill shooting,” a mentality of “generate content” instead of creating art. Forgive me if I stick to Rights Managed and Royalty Free.

The sun sets over the southern Atlantic ocean as ten thousand nesting pairs of black browed albatross settle in for the brief summer night.

The sun sets over the southern Atlantic ocean as 10,000 nesting pairs of black browed albatross settle in for the brief summer night. ©Art Wolfe

4. Contact

Once your collective is up and running, or even if you decide to fly solo, contact all your existing clients with the news. Buy and use lists of prospective clients, like those provided by Agency Access and other services. More »

Art Wolfe didn’t become one of the foremost nature and art photographers in the world by taking the same photos everyone else was taking. His diverse work is set apart by his careful composition and artistic eye. Art will give a series of three free webinars about composition starting June 10, and he gives us a preview of his insights here. If you’re interested in seeing Antarctica with Art, who traveled there most recently to film an episode of his Travels to the Edge show, check out the details of his workshops at the end of this post.
King Penguin, Bay of Isles, South Georgia Island, UK ©Art Wolfe

King Penguin, Bay of Isles, South Georgia Island, UK ©Art Wolfe

Antarctica remains the last great wilderness in the world. The continent encompasses a vast array of environments, from the lifeless high plateau surrounding the South Pole, where miles-thick ice presses down the bedrock, to ice shelves extruding into the sea and the dry valleys where snow seldom falls. The Antarctic Convergence, the boundary where cold and warm water meet, rings Antarctica hundreds of miles from land. It extends so far north that it encompasses South Georgia, where tens of thousands of King Penguins nest on beaches beneath glaciated mountains 11,000-feet tall. Elephant seals guard their harems, and albatrosses soar above the waters.

The Antarctic Peninsula is an extension of the Andes. There is no other place on earth, including Alaska and the fjords of Patagonia, where such an impressive sequence of large glaciated peaks continues unbroken for so far. As you cruise south along the peninsula’s west coast, it’s easy to imagine yourself on the Orient Express through the Himalaya.

No animals larger than micro-organisms live at the Pole, but the northern tip of the Peninsula abounds with life. Penguins and blue-eyed shags nest in the rocks where a few hardy plants have taken root. Crab-eater seals loll on flat icebergs where the top predator, the leopard seal, is less likely to attack. Minke whales patrol the bays, surfacing with an explosive exhalation. Gentoo and Adelie penguins porpoise as they approach the shore either to confuse the leopard seals, or for the sheer joy of it.

A snow overhang on the Antarctic Peninsula. © Art Wolfe

A snow overhang on the Antarctic Peninsula. © Art Wolfe

The scenery here is so grand, and the animals so numerous and spectacular, that photographers often find themselves with a common problem. How do you avoid the image that has already been taken a thousand times? Your eye is naturally pulled toward one postcard view after another. How do you endow an image with a deeper power or a sense of surprise? Here are a few tricks I use:

1. Change your perspective. Get off the ship. Unless you set off on a different route, you are limited to a single point of view (although a battery of lenses can add some flexibility). Once on shore or in a Zodiac boat, you can place an iceberg or a rack of whale ribs in the foreground, wheel around to position an animal against a good background, or crawl behind a curtain of icicles.

2. Get Closer. A close up shot usually has a better chance to be involving. In Antarctica, the rules prohibit approaching wildlife too closely. But they don’t prohibit the wildlife from approaching you. I often find if I set up in the general vicinity of penguins or seals, one of them will come to investigate, nosing right up to my lens. This isn’t for everyone, since it usually means you are sprawled in guano, and more than once a curious elephant seal pup has crawled right up on top of me.

3. Skip Dinner. It is an unfortunate coincidence that dinner is inevitably served when the light is best. You can eat later — you may never have the chance to shoot this place in this light again. Always take advantage of unique opportunities.

For more tips and hands-on instruction, join me on my next two trips to Antarctica, in November 2009 and 2010. For details, check my website, call my office at 206-332-0993, or email

World-renowned conservation and fine art photographer Art Wolfe is in the process of reinventing his business model — upgrading to a liveBooks website and selling his stock images directly through a Photoshelter account that is linked to it. Art will be contributing to RESOLVE regularly, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to record a few words of wisdom while he was visiting last week. We shot the short interview below with Art and Jim Martin, executive director of Art Wolfe Inc. and an accomplished photographer himself, near our San Francisco office.

When Art started to see diminishing returns from stock sales years ago, he reworked his business around selling images himself through his website. Understanding that “fur and feathers” stock photography was not sufficient to keep his business afloat, he also did what many photographers are now learning the value of — he diversified. On top of stock and print sales, Art is also reaching millions of viewers through his TV show Travels to the Edge and is reworking his workshops for more intimate, challenging classes.


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