Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pay up if you want to photograph...

This post goes a bit against the normal posts in this blog, but since it concerns a subject which is dear to me, I decided to write about it, in conjunction with other fellow photographers that will post the same content in other blogs and sites. Basically the thing is if I want to continue to take photos like the one I show you here (taken in the Alentejo Southwest Natural Park), I will have to pay. Why ? Read below...

It recently came to my attention that the portuguese governmental entity that takes care of our Natural Parks and Natural Areas (ICNB - Instituto da Conservacao da Natureza e Biodiversidade) has published a price table that targets some activities taking place in those natural areas, and photography and filiming are among those activities. Apart from being too high for most photographers and film makers, especially those that need to spend several days in a Natural Area to get images for a magazine article or a film, these fees were decided upon without taking into account the people that they would be targeting, or the people that live near those areas and want to enjoy them.

Because of this, some nature photographers, both amateur and professional, joined together and decided to write a letter to ICNB, in order to debate this issue with this Institute. The purpose of the photographers, in which I am included, is not that photography in these areas shoud not be targeted by fees, but that these fees should not be decided upon randomly, but by debating the issue with the people that work in the field. It is our belief that if the correct criteria is set for nature photography in protcted areas, then the correct fees can be established according to that criteria.

In order to be proactive rather than reactive, we decided to send the letter to ICNB about a month ago. During that time we waited for some answer that never came, and this is the reason we are now making this letter public. If you want to know its contents, you can find it here.

Nature photographers in Portugal are trying their best to bring people to our country and to have them appreciate the few natural resources we still have. If these fees for taking photos start to be enforced it will be a severe blow to some of the people who try harder to let people know about what we have in terms of natural beauty. And the saddest thing is that this blow is dealt by the entity that should do the most to protect and let people know about our natural environment.

Download the english version of the letter.

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