After receiving a BFA degree in Painting and Printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute, I became captivated by the inherent power of a photographic image to influence people. Trading paint and ink for a camera, I received a MFA degree in Creative Arts Interdisciplinary from San Francisco State University. Since then I have given much thought to the way this visual power is wielded in our media-saturated world, and how it can be used to bring about positive changes. Through the use of light, color and texture, I have pursued the means of creating a visual experience that will expand one's perspective and understanding of nature.
I had always been concerned about the repercussions photographs can have on a pristine natural environment. Beautiful photos often draw more and more people to a once little know area, resulting in that place being loved to death. Thus, that fear kept me from pursuing commercial publication of my work. I had exhibited some throughout the Western United States, but my main career pursuit had been 20 years of professional experience in Arts and Education.
For the past eight years however, I have dedicated much of my time photographing for The Nature Conservancy of Oregon. Having my photographs used in The Nature Conservancy's mission makes my work much more than just the act of taking photographs. Working within the framework of the Oregon preserves, returning time and time again to the same locations, I have strived to capture a sense of each place. It is my hope that my emotional and aesthetic experience of a place is somewhat felt by others, and thus moves them to help preserve nature, not exploit it.
As an artist, photographer, and conservationist, it is my experience of a place through looking at patterns, light, color, and texture, which then draws me to look further and begin to see and feel the interconnectedness of the place. Striving to photographically capture that experience, I await the moment the ordinary becomes extraordinary. I often choose to photograph locations that are easily accessible to most people, so that my sense of a place can be experienced firsthand by others.
Images I have captured for the Conservancy have been featured in The Nature Conservancy Magazine, the Conservancy's website, public presentations, Nature Conservancy brochures and newsletters, Nature Conservancy ads, and other publications. I regularly spend weeks on the road photographing images that combine a sense of place with The Nature Conservancy's conservation priorities.
Listen to an audio slideshow and Interview with Rick from The Nature Conservancy's award-winning director of photography Mark Godfrey.