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Home / Picturing Our World / Feature Articles

Pictures Make A Difference

Images of Nature that Matter

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In December, 1968, as Apollo 8 emerged from its fourth orbit around the dark side of the moon, Earth unexpectedly framed itself in the capsule's window. From the crew's vantage point, the earth appeared above the surface of the moon as a small, blue floating orb. A quick thinking astronaut pressed the shutter button of a Hasselblad camera and the image "Earth Rise" was immortalized on film.

Back on Earth, the photo of our small blue planet against the black void of space profoundly changed the way we saw ourselves within the vast universe. There are many whom regard the Earth Rise image as a galvanizing moment in the environmental movement. With this single image, we were shown that our planet is indeed finite, a unique drop of life in a vast ocean of space.

Since Apollo 8, photography has played a key role in influencing how communities and policy makers view our natural resources. Throughout the world, photographers - as well as painters and illustrators - have committed themselves to capturing the beauty of the natural world. However, more than just magazine or calendar art, these images have been used effectively to illustrate the beauty of what we stand to lose and advocate for the preservation of wild places and unique ecosystems.

Put simply, pictures make a difference.


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