Nature First or Why the Matter of Course Cannot be Taken for Granted

I fear that future generations will judge us harshly for our failure to place proper value on wildness, diversity, open space, spirit, solitude and other treasures of the natural world still available to us today. May they at least know that some of us tried.”
| Guy Tal

Nature First or Why the Matter of Course Cannot be Taken for Granted

The reason I photograph is not the fascination of the technical process. The reason I photograph is because I am continuously engaged in the study of wonder. On a frequent rhythm I feel nature’s call to go out and discover. With great passion, respect, gratefulness and commitment I am searching for experiences in nature that let me feel nature’s wonder through all my senses. It makes me indescribably happy to smell the ground of the earth, the perfume of its flowers, the majesty of the trees, to struggle wandering around in heavy winter snowstorms, to admire magical golden color transitions when summer is on the decline, to touch crusty tree barks and rock-solid stones, to listen to mother nature’s melodies and to talk to my camera who is with me in these experiential learning situations. It is however always nature first who inspires me and serves as the source and inspiration of any artistic endeavour.

Nature serves as homeland for many more creatures than mankind, is a refugium as well as recreation area that gives birth to life (in Latin “natura” means “being born”). Nature is the genuine, the origin. As such, in philosophy one distinguishes between what originates from nature and everything unnatural, characterized by the relationship between mankind and their environment. Natural is not artificial, neither falsified not modified. Unnatural is artificially created. We therefore often use the word “the nature of an object” to describe the normal condition or the essence of an object. Unfortunately, in recent years we have seen the meaning of natural and unnatural to be drifting apart.

Huge bushfires we have never seen before to this extend, destructive thunderstorms, hungry earthquakes or melting glaciers are just hinting that global warming is not a problem of today. All these developments will dramatically impact our future and the condition of our future nature. This is not the place to start a political discussion, but I’m just wandering why so many of us hesitate and don’t seem to care or where care doesn’t translate into behaviour.

As landscape photographers we have a special responsibility, because many of our beloved places suffer from increased visitation of a selfie nation and seems to give more weight to a unique image than to the preservation of nature.

I do care and because I care I’d like to start with me thinking daily about what can I do and how can I contribute? We need individual behaviour change and collective action. As such, I have decided to support such an effort: The Nature First Initiative and its following 7 Principles to reduce our negative impact through photography on nature:

The Nature First Principles

1. Prioritize the well-being of nature over photography.

2. Educate yourself about the places you photograph.

3. Reflect on the possible impact of your actions.

4. Use discretion if sharing locations.

5. Know and follow rules and regulations.

6. Always follow Leave No Trace principles and strive to leave places better than you found them.

7. Actively promote and educate others about these principles.

Becoming a member at Nature First is free of any cost. You are just making a commitment to these principles, to nature and to yourself. I’d deeply appreciate if you go to the website and study the ideas, meet up with like minded members and try to come up with suggestions on what could be improved further. Use the hashtag #naturefirst on your upcoming social postings to help making others aware.

Let us create a movement.



Nature First Photography,, 12012020.