You know the old saying, preaching to the choir. It refers to anyone who works hard to convince someone who is already convinced. It is usually thought of as a bad thing or at least that one is wasting their time.
I am not so sure.
Preaching to the choir is often used for folks like you and me who care deeply about nature and want to share it through our photography, but we often end up sharing to people who are already convinced. Like you.
I have often said that nature photographers are the eyes of the public. Without our photos, very often others don't know about the aspects of nature we care about. That often includes a lot of people and nature these days because many people just don't feel feel they have time to spend in nature. There is no question that the world is a bit more pressured these days and simply earning a living can be difficult, especially when companies expect people to do more and more in their already full jobs.
Because being eyes in nature for others is important, I have often felt that given all of the challenges facing nature today that I needed to be able to do something that would create change, make those people who were doing wrong things see the better of their ways. Hah! That wasn't, isn't, and won't happen. It can be really difficult to change people's minds who don't care.
There are many reasons why people believe the way they do, even when solid, hard-core evidence says they should be thinking differently. That's just how people are, and to think a few "good photos" and some thoughtful text is going to change them is naive and dangerous. Dangerous because trying too hard to convince people who don't want to be convinced can actually harden someone else's position.
We are unlikely to change the way the world thinks with our work. While photography has a history of affecting people in many ways, much of that occurred in the past when photography was not so ubiquitous and filling our lives. Today, it is hard to break through and get attention even with the best of media (just look at how much Time magazine has declined in influence and readership as a good example – today's Time is nothing like the vibrant, thick publication that people talked a lot about).
But as nature photographers, we can "preach to the choir", i.e., get our work in front of people who care about nature, people who are already convinced. Why? So that they feel encouraged and even more confident in their understanding and support of nature. That can mean reaching people in camera clubs to churches to local civic and social groups to publishing work in everything from local to national venues, even if that means self-publishing with things like ebooks (Guy Kurasawki's book, A. P. E., is a good resource related to the latter).
If more and more people feel connected to nature because of your work, my work, our work, even though they already look favorably on nature (the "choir"), then that can be a force of positive action and attention. That can make a difference.
I know I am "preaching to the choir" in my new book, Macro Photography: from Snapshot to Great Shot, and I am proud of it! I want to support and encourage people to get out and get better photos of nature. You can find it at bookstores and at Amazon.com. And if you get a copy, please help me out by adding a review of the book on Amazon.com.
Also my new online class, Basics of Landscape Photography, is now available on craftsy.com. We shot this class this past February in the Santa Monica Mountains outside of LA. I think we really put together a great class that both celebrates the landscape and instructs how to get the best shots of it.
Both of the photos here were recently taken in the Shawnee National Forest in Illinois.