Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Milestone for Meet Your Neighbours

Today, April 30th, 2010, marks a milestone for Meet Your Neighbours. Early on, it was decided that this date would mark the last day that we would be accepting photographer applications for the project. When Niall Benvie and I first launched Meet Your Neighbours back in February, we knew that it was a unique concept, but had no idea that it would take wings as quickly as it has done.

To date, we have received applications from an amazing group of photographers representing North America, South and Central America, Africa, Europe, the UK, Australia, and Japan. There is a healthy mix of professional and serious non-professional photographers; some of which you may know and others that you will get to say hello to for the very first time. Perhaps most importantly, this talented group of individuals has come forward to participate in this project because they all share a common love for their local wildlife, and have a willingness to tell their local communities why they should take notice.
We have also been fortunate to gain the support of so many members of the conservation community. Early on, The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland backed the project and offered seed funding to get us up and running, and shortly thereafter, The International League of Conservation Photographers honored us by becoming Endorsing Partners. Most Recently Mark Lukes from Fine Print Imaging and Linda Helm at Art for Conservation have thrown their support behind the project, which has made a tremendous difference in regards to applicant interest, and visibility around the world.

So what now? Well, in the coming days we will be working with applicants to secure the support of their NGOs of choice. We will also be introducing applicants who have already gained support on our website, on our upcoming MYN blog, and on our rapidly growing Facebook group.

Exciting things are on the horizon for Meet Your Neighbours! Already, photographers are beginning to develop new techniques for creating the field studio images, including novel approaches to showing both the subject and environment in one image. Others are developing long range plans for sharing the images with their communities. By working together, we hope that common, overlooked species of wild plants and animals will be seen in a different light!

For photographers out there who are still interested in Meet Your Neighbours, and are able to make an arrangement with a partner NGO there still may be a place for you in the project. Please visit our website to download the MYN photographer's guide and begin building a relationship with your local conservation community. Although the April 30th deadline has been reached, we still may be able to help support you in other ways!

Finally, if you represent a NGO, business or are a person in a position to introduce Meet Your Neighbours into your own community, please contact me at clay@meetyourneighbours.org and will help to connect you with an appropriate photographer partner.

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