Nature photography has been popular since the birth of photography. In recent years it has found a new respect as an art form. 20 years ago, nature photography had been relegated to mass-market postcards and calendars of dubious quality. It certainly was not often found framed on a gallery wall.


Over the years, postcards and calendars began to improve in quality as nature photographers with real talent entered the industry. High quality posters of whales, wolves, elephants and spectacular landscapes from around the world were suddenly worthy of framing. Finally nature photography galleries began to appear and, more importantly, turn a profit.

When I opened my gallery in 1993, many people still felt that you could not make a living selling photography; that people would only buy paintings to hang on their walls. These days, new galleries are opening everywhere; some good, some not so good, and a few that have really hit the big time.

All this activity in the world of nature photography has inspired new generations of photographers to look at nature photography as a hobby or possible profession. These new nature photographers grew up in a very different world than the one I come from. Technology that was unimagined back then is now commonplace, and new photographers have more power in their hands than ever before. But what implications does all this technology have for nature photography?

Nature photographers must now decide how much they will allow their photography to be influenced by technology. In earlier days, good nature photography required a very simple approach; find a great subject, in the best possible light, and use your skill with a camera to capture what you saw. Today it is quite a different story. A nature photographer can (if they choose) find a decent subject, photograph it in whatever lighting conditions they happen to find, then go home and completely alter the colours, the contrast, and even the detail of the picture. The result can be an image that owes more to the marvels of technology than to the wonders of nature.


Each to his own. It is not for me to judge the creative decisions of another photographer. But the question that is in the back of your mind right now deserves to be asked; is this nature photography?

Every photographer is entitled to pursue their craft any way they choose. Nobody could argue that skills with a computer are any less creative than traditional nature photography skills. However, the person who views a photograph deserves to know what they are looking at, especially if that person is a customer prepared to part with their hard-earned money.

I know many photographers get quite defensive on this subject. Camera clubs around the world continue to wrestle with the issue of judging natural photos alongside manipulated photos. Some clubs have tried to divide competition into separate categories, only to find people sneaking their digitally altered photos into the unaltered category for equal recognition. Understandably, ‘software photographers’ want their talents to be recognised on the same level as the ‘in-camera photographers’. And so they should, but not in a way that ignores the difference betw

By Haadi