Photography as an inspiration tool for conservation

Paula Tagle
July 4, 2021 – 08:43

Diego Bermeo (center, squatting) and his disciples in an exhibition of photographs at the Luis Noboa Naranjo Museum (Guayaquil). Photo: Andrés Morales.

A spark of inspiration at an early age is all that is needed to lead a human being on creative paths and commitment to the community and the environment, forever enlightening his life and, indirectly, that of his environment.

Diego Bermeo has motivated dozens of enchanted children and young people through photography, both as art and as a tool to transmit messages, emotions and even to conduct science.

Diego, originally from Guayaquil, always had the dream of studying photography as a formal career. Life took him through various paths, inside and outside the country, until in 2010 he became a volunteer for the National Park. Until his arrival in Galapagos, as a father of the family, he described himself as just another city ​​dweller, with limited interest in nature.

By accompanying the park rangers in arduous eradication and conservation tasks, on walks of up to ten hours through the volcanoes, he began to understand life from another perspective, to appreciate it through his lens. By documenting the work of the park rangers, he was realizing the immense potential of photography as a means of communication, and, above all, of inspiration. Since 2012, Diego works in the area of ​​environmental communication of the National Park, where in 2014 he created the program Young Galápagos Photographers.”

“The value of nature is invaluable, the resources are finite. We must change our habits, stop consumerism. I want to replicate my experience in young people, that photography influences them to value the planet and generate their contribution.”

So far he has linked more than 300 young people through different photography projects. Several have obtained study scholarships at universities in the country thanks to the knowledge and experience obtained in the workshops that are taught at no cost.

In a 2017 survey, only 7 out of 10 children had ever been to a place other than their island of residence, and they remembered only two of the 169 Galapagos visitor sites. The Young Galápagos Photographers program combines the study of photography with field trips with park workers and guides, to learn about nature and management and research tasks.

They have held exhibitions locally, and on the continent, such as in the Casa de la Cultura, nuclei of Pichincha and Guayas, the University of the Arts in Guayaquil and the Luis Noboa Naranjo Museum in Guayaquil. With their photographic evidence, the workshop leaders help in the records of the status of the flora and fauna populations and document the battles against the introduced species. The vast majority of these young people do not have their own camera. But somehow Diego makes sure to get equipment. They are self-financed with raffles, sale of postcards, exposed photos, etc.

The private sector also collaborates: Ecoventura, Lindblad Expeditions, Metropolitan Touring assign cabins for the development of photographic cruises.

Diego hopes that institutional and public policies are reviewed to strengthen this type of initiative, and that they remain registered in the school calendar. For now, in July 2021 he will dictate a new three-month workshop for approximately 30 new photographers on Santa Cruz Island, on the occasion of the 62nd anniversary of the PNG.

The Young Photographers are ambassadors for conservation, and Diego is a source of inspiration.

Read the original coverage from El Universo at https://www.eluniverso.com/larevista/columnistas-larevista/la-fotografia-como-herramienta-de-inspiracion-para-la-conservacion-nota/


Informing and sharing news on marine life, flora, fauna and conservation in the Galápagos Islands since 2017
© SOS Galápagos, 2021

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