Robin Moore is a photographer, filmmaker, author, conservationist passionate about wildlife.
Robert Pattinson for Global Wildlife Conservation and Turtle Conservancy.
Ziggy Marley, Daniel Craig and Moby pictured to raise awareness about endangered species. Photographs by Robin Moore.
I am engaging celebrities to raise awareness for endangered species and their conservation. Although it may seem counterintuitive, because the whole concept of fame and fortune seems at odds with values that prioritize the conservation of nature, celebrities can actually add credibility to a cause because they typically would not support causes or organizations that could negatively affect their reputation. I am working with Global Wildlife Conservation and our good friends at the Turtle Conservancy on a series of videos with celebrities, and cautiously building a body of photographs featuring these celebrities connecting with a species, to raise awareness and support for the conservation of endangered species.
We (Global Wildlife Conservation) have partnered with our good friends at the Turtle Conservancy on a number of projects and campaigns. We have started producing short videos with celebrities to promote campaigns such as the Search for Lost Species. Their association just helps us to reach a much broader audience. Accompanying these PSA's, I am capturing a series of photographs of celebrities with different species. So far we have shot Daniel Craig, Robert Pattinson, Ziggy Marley and Moby. I am always looking to connect with influential people with a genuine interest in wildlife conservation to partner with. I am now looking to add diversity to the celebrity spokespeople.
Just a few hours old, these wild Jamaican iguana hatchlings are some of the rarest lizards in the world. Robin’s endearing photograph was part of a campaign to save these creatures, whose future had been jeopardised by government plans to build in their forest habitat.
(Robin Moore, Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Single award)
Giraffe Manor is an incredible place in Nairobi, Kenya, where Rothschild's Giraffes come and literally join you for breakfast. The Manor now operates as a breeding center for the giraffe, as part of a breeding program started in 1979 by the African Foundation for Endangered Wildlife, established by the manor's former homeowners, Kenyan citizens Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville. (Photogrpahs by Robin Moore)
I started life as a naturalist - growing up in Scotland, I became fascinated with amphibians and reptiles. I felt they had the most interesting story to tell. I pursued biology - heading to the forests of West Africa to study chameleons for my undergraduate project - before completing a PhD in biodiversity conservation. I saw research as my vehicle to exploring some of the more unexplored recesses of our planet. But during my Post Doc I became slightly disillusioned with academia. I felt like my research wasn't really helping the species I was studying. And so I made a switch to the NGO world and in 2005 I started working with the amphibian program at Conservation International. I traveled to projects to work with partners in Haiti, Madagascar and beyond, and my camera became a powerful tool for bringing back stories from these places.
I was taken aback when I won the first annual Conservation International photo contest I entered for my photo essay on the wildlife and people of Haiti. I really knew very little about the technical aspects of digital photography, but Cristina Mittermeier became something of a mentor, and introduced me to the International League of Conservation Photographers. I guess she saw something that suggested I had potential! In the iLCP I found a group of likeminded people using photography and storytelling to effect change, and it was inspiring and motivated me to up my game. I tried to absorb as much as I could from those around me.
A game changer for me was spearheading the Search for Lost Frogs whilst at CI. The campaign really snowballed, and became a powerful platform for storytelling to connect a broad audience with the amphibian extinction crisis. It opened my eyes to the importance of framing a story. More important than data, I realized, was creating new narratives as ways to understand and explore our world.
I joined Global Wildlife Conservation a few years ago, and am now Director of Communications. The unwavering focus on biodiversity conservation fits with my values system. Being a relatively young and small group, GWC is also nimble - this makes it easier to develop and launch more innovative and cross-cutting initiatives like the Search for Lost Species, which is really building momentum.
I also maintain close ties with National Geographic. I am represented by Nat Geo Creative, and I teach photography and storytelling to Nat Geo grantees during their Science-telling bootcamps. These are opportunities to connect with some of the most dynamic and talented scientists and visual storytellers that I find extremely rewarding.
The purpose of photography
Photography has become a language that we now use to connect and feel connected. When we share images of wildlife and wild places we reinforce our appreciation of these and our connection to others that share our appreciation. Reconnecting people with nature who have become disconnected from our natural world presents more of a challenge, and this is where powerful images and stories that rise above the noise play a vital role in illuminating those issues that too often remain in the shadows. Photographs and accompanying stories that resonate on a visceral level and challenge world views can have long-lasting effects when they pervade the collective conscience.
A Samburu Moran surveys a vast landscape unscarred by industrial development in northern Kenya (Robin Moore)
I think the biggest achievement was being part of the team that successfully campaigned to save the home of the Jamaican Iguana. This was an incredible victory against long odds and it felt amazing to bask in that with the rest of the team. I hope to contribute in a meaningful way to similar goal-driven campaigns like this.
When I work towards a specific goal - such as trying to get the government of Jamaica to back down from developing a Protected Area - its easy to measure success. But it's not always that straight forward. The Search for Lost Frogs was designed to raise awareness about the crisis impacting amphibians around the world. There was no easy solution being advanced or "win" that could be measured. I could measure the number of people reached with the message, but could not say what impact it had on their attitudes or behaviors. Likewise when I did the Metamorphosis series - there was a message underlying that series, but how much did it shift people's perception of amphibians? I have no clue. I wish I could measure all these things. But then I often wonder, just because something cannot be measured does it diminish its value? I think sometimes we just have to do a gut check and push forward with what we think will have a net positive to our world. If we change just one person's perspective, is this enough?
When I am shooting in nature I feel almost hypnotized. I forget about time, I forget about food, I forget about sleep. I know that to feel inspired I just need to grab my camera, head into the wilds, and shoot. When I am not in the wilds I draw inspiration from the work of others. There are so many incredible photographers and storytellers these days that I am constantly feeling the urge to get back out and up my game.
Critically Endangered black rhino and zebra in Laikipia, Kenya. Winner, Sony Art of Expression 2012 One World Category. (Robin Moore)