To celebrate the launch of the inaugural Wildscreen Photo Story Panda Award at this year’s Wildscreen Festival, Arkive is getting to know the award’s amazing jury, who are themselves international photography professionals. Here we meet Britta Jaschinski.
For over 20 years, Britta Jaschinski has been devoted to documenting the fractured existence of wildlife, which suffers in the name of entertainment, status, greed and superstition. Britta was born and raised in Bremen, Germany but is now based in London. Her passion to protect wildlife, takes her across the globe to investigate the relationship we have with animals and to highlight what we risk losing. Britta is the winner of numerous awards, including GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year twice, and several times finalist and a winner of the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year. She is a sought-after speaker at photography festivals and her work has been published and exhibited worldwide, with more than 25 solo shows so far.
Britta is the co-founder of Photographers Against Wildlife Crime™ – an international group of award-winning photographers who have joined forces to use their powerful and iconic images to help bring an end to the illegal wildlife trade.
What was your exposure to photography growing up?
I was more influenced by fine art. Albrecht Dürer’s woodcut of the Rhinoceros and his drawings of plants and bird wings fascinated me and I reckon you can actually see that in my work. Later, during my BA in Photography, I studied photo journalist like Don Mccullin and James Nachtway. My first hero in wildlife photography was Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols.
What in your opinion makes a good photo story?
Firstly you should ask yourself if you actually have something to say. Something you feel passionate about. A situation you like to change or improve or just simply share with the world. If you know what you are talking about, you are halfway there with your story. Make sure you have researched into what you like to document – become an expert in it (at least for the duration of the project). Then think about your approach and the style you like to apply. Look at good photographers and how they have achieved telling a powerful story. Each photo should be strong enough as a stand-alone shot but they all need to work together and compliment each other.
You’re co-founder of Photographers Against Wildlife Crime™, what events prompted you to begin this campaign?
We are loosing wildlife at an alarming rate. Scientist believe we are living through the sixth extinction – only this time, we can blame ourselves for it. I felt frustrated, angry and scared what the future holds. Photography is a powerful tool. Looking at history, even one photo can bring change.
How would you like the stories told in Photographers Against Wildlife Crime™ to be perceived and how will this book help to bring an end to illegal wildlife trade?
I have had the honour to work with some of world’s best photographers, authors and journalists. Together we can tell the world how it is and give a voice to the voiceless. With our iconic photos we show what we stand to loose. But we also want to celebrate the heroes who protect our wildlife and fight for our wild spaces. Our work is proof that photography matters and without photographers, filmmakers and journalists the word’s conscience will wither. We will get our message where it needs to be heard – the consumer of wildlife products. We have connected with opinion sharpers who are spreading the message and we will also reach out to politicians responsible for the environmental and wildlife policies. Together we can change consumer behaviour to end the demand in our lifetime.
You are on the jury for Wildscreen’s inaugural Photo Story Panda Award. Why do you feel it’s important that Wildscreen is including stills photography within the Panda Awards and the Wildscreen Festival?
There are not many photo competitions that cover conservation and environmental photography, but it is so important right now. If we cannot shed light on what is going and send strong messages across the globe, we will loose much wildlife forever. This is a real tragedy and any small wheel can make a difference in raising awareness and to bring change.
If you could give 18 year old you one piece of advice for building a career in photography, what would it be?
Find your own style, your own niche and become an expert in it. Don’t take photos you have seen before – find new ways and different approaches – be inventive and daring. Surprise people. Teach your audience new things and never give up. Stick to what you believe. Don’t whine – pull up your sleeves and crack on!
Thanks to Britta for taking the time to share her thoughts. We’re really excited to see her and all the incredible photo stories at the Wildscreen Festival 2018!
You can visit Britta’s website brittaphotography.com