Watch the Birdie: Image-making and Wildlife Conservation

Claudia Springer, Framingham State University


Photography and the modern wildlife conservation movement became entwined soon after their shared emergence in the middle of the 19th century. This article analyzes how photography, film, video, and digital imaging have shaped the movement and continue to exert influence. Images often dictate our knowledge of animal species in the wild, but they can be deceptive, and they have hindered as well as helped conservation efforts. The profusion of wildlife conservation imagery and continued politicized debates over appropriate strategies make it important to investigate the conflicted alliance between mechanical reproduction and the conservation movement.