From the Beginning

Updated: Nov 27, 2019


My journey to conservation photography did not start when I purchased the camera equipment; it began as a child growing up in northern BC. Many of my earliest experiences in nature were in the small community of Smithers, a town set in the Bulkley Valley alongside a gorgeous river and with a backdrop of mountain ranges edging either side of the valley. I could not ask for a more beautiful setting to grow up in, and it endeared in me a love of the environment.


Summer vacations often took us to the coast of northern BC, where we explored magical places like the community of Prince Rupert or the islands of Haida Gwaii. I think sometimes we were spoiled in that regard, getting to see nature in its purest form and in such abundance that I have not seen since. Even then, though, human imprints on the natural environment were evident everywhere we went. On one of our first camping excursions to Rennel Sound on the west coast of Graham Island in Haida Gwaii, we bounced along the rugged logging roads alongside vast clearings where ancient forests had only recently stood. I can recall stopping at one point along the road where my brother and I found a massive tree that had been cut and left decaying on the ground. The interior of the tree was hollowed out from rot while it was still living, which likely meant that tree held no particular value for the company logging the area. The cavity of the tree was big enough though that both my brother and I crawled inside it, marvelling at its enormity. Although this particular tree had been left behind, the massive stumps that checkered the hillside indicated that it was but one of thousands of giants that had been recently felled.


I have always felt compassion for animals but it became far more evident as a teenager when I realized I couldn’t participate in killing the chickens on our rural property. I pledged soon after to become a vegetarian, a practice I have maintained for the past 27 years. Although primarily motivated by my love of animals, education and experience has since taught me the environmental benefits of the lifestyle. Around the same time that I converted to vegetarianism, I discovered a concurrent passion for conservation. Nearing the end of high school I made plans to attend an environmental sciences program at the University of Victoria. I discovered too late that I was missing a prerequisite course and lacking the wisdom to take the missing course and pursue my education, I veered off into other ventures for the next several years.


My interest in conservation did not wane over the years though and I eventually engaged in a 4 1/2 year endeavour with likeminded people to oppose a pipeline project that threatened the same region I had grown up in and loved so well. That project was eventually quashed and I carried on to explore other opportunities to pursue my passion. Not until this year did I finally decide to take the leap into photography, and since then I have discovered my absolute love for it. I have explored photography at various points in my life, but not with any serious interest. Combining it with conservation, though, opened up a door to another world and ignited an intense desire to become the absolute best that I can be in this pursuit. My goal is not to gain fame to satisfy my ego but rather to use the medium as a method to further the objectives of conservation.


With this goal in mind, I launch this website to offer my work to the world and to connect with people who share my belief that life in all its many forms, above all, is the true value of this world. If you hold that value dear as well I hope to hear from you.


Josh

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