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BE Interview by Inga Yandell PARTNER │ PSA How important are the visual elements in how the project is received and utilized?


This project goes beyond documenting wildlife and ecosystems; it also incorporates perspectives from scientists!


Visual elements are at the heart of this project. Photography has aways been a way to reach the masses when it comes to convincing them that changes need to be made or special ecosystems need to be saved. It was the horrendous pictures of the Vietnam War that eventually convinced the US Government to abandon their efforts in that conflict. Additionally, the photographer William Henry Jackson and artist Thomas Moran were instrumental in convincing the US Government to set aside Yellowstone National Park as the first national park in the world due to its unique beauty and scientific research possibilities.


What is the most incredible experience you've had working on this project?


Probably the most heart-wrenching experience I've had to date was filming a starving polar bear family in the fall of 2010. I was shooting video at the time when one of the cubs went into convulsions. The two cubs died the next day from what scientists think was most likely starvation. You can read the entire story on my blog and also see comments from several of the scientists PBI works with.


Have you encountered any hurdles in production?


Travel in the far north is always the most dangerous and difficult of all the things I do to get these photos. Two years ago, while working with scientists on the the icebreaker Polar Sea, one of our helicopters lost its GPS unit and flew miles off course from the ship. At the time there was a lot of open water. The sun had gone down and there was a a drizzle in the air, which created ice on the helicopter rotors. I wasn't on that chopper, but I shot video of it coming in for the landing on the ship in near darkness and foggy conditions. I was happy to be safe on the ship during that mission.


What are the areas of research being explored and how do you relate this?


All science projects in the far north are fair game. Through my affiliation with Polar Bears International, I have access to some of the world’s leading scientists, and it's their work that provides the proof that the arctic is going through dramatic changes.


These guys are on the front lines of this historic shift taking place in the arctic ecosystem. It is my job to be the conduit and get this information to the general public. I'm hopeful that the inspiring tales and images of the scientific studies, along with the magnificent beauty of the animals and their habitat, will inspire people to make the changes we need to eliminate humanity’s contribution to the warming planet.


As an added bonus for these world-class scientific researchers we work with is the visual materials we produce are made available to them for the scientific community and any personal outreach they do. Many scientists don't have the time or the expertise to shoot the photographs or video to tell their story in a manner that is interesting to the public. The ADP offers a chance to have a professional journalist create the materials that connect their work to the public. All of this is free of charge to those involved in the documenting process.


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