As the old proverb goes, a picture speaks a thousand words. However, in the case of the non-profit gallery, Photography for Future, it also plants up to 80 trees. Launched in June this year, the online gallery is bridging the gap between collectors and photographers across borders to create a better environmental future.
Before starting Photography for Future, founder Paige Hahn worked on numerous conservation projects across the world. And earlier this year, she decided to marry this interest in conservation with her passion for photography. The result? The first and only photography gallery that gives 100% of its profits to environmental projects. The gallery ships worldwide using recycled/ plastic-free materials.
They have planted over 600 trees so far and right now, they are focused on donating 100% of its profits to WeForest, an organisation that is restoring corridors of forests in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Ayushi Shah has an email chat with Paige to know more about the project. Excerpts below:
Ayushi Shah (AS): Could you tell me more about Photography for Future Gallery?
Paige Hahn (PH): I am a key believer in the power of visual imagery and its significant impact on raising funds and awareness on environmental issues. I was driven to create Photography for Future by combining my work as a conservationist and my appreciation for the photography community. Also, now that we are spending more time at home due to COVID, I believe it’s very important to have positive art in our households. The gallery gives people the opportunity to purchase something tangible that doesn’t have a large carbon footprint and in fact, it gives back to the environment by supporting forest rehabilitation.
We are the first and only online photography gallery to donate 100% of our profit to conservation projects. We have partnered with WeForest and are currently raising funds for their forest rehabilitation project in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Each print sold can plant up to 80 trees! I contacted numerous photographers – many of them were thrilled about the project and generously donated their photographs. The gallery sells a selection of wildlife, landscape and travel photographs. The photographs were donated by award winning photographers, some of which have been featured in National Geographic. We are strongly dedicated to being financially transparent and keeping all management fees always under 10%. Our mission to replant forests and mitigate climate change is only possible through a collective team effort, we believe that honest transparency and genuine interactions is key to this.
AS: What is the impact of this idea so far and how has the response been?
PH: Despite launching the project during a global pandemic, we have been able to sell several photographs allowing us to plant over 600 trees. Photography for Future has made use of its exclusively online presence to gather a local and international network of ordinary people, experts in the field, art-enthusiasts, conservationists, and photographers and filmmakers who share an interest in the project and the broader goal of reforestation.
AS: What is your vision for the project?
PH: Our vision is to continue to grow the gallery with additional artists and have several exhibitions in a physical gallery space (post-COVID) to allow us to raise significant funds for forest rehabilitation. We would like to use the gallery as a platform for not only raising funds but also to raise awareness on key issues such as how Northern American/ European companies and consumers are complicit in deforestation activities. We also want to showcase innovative solutions that can be taken in these continents to protect Brazilian forests.
AS: How do you tackle ethical dilemmas like using plastic or shipping to far away distances?
PH: We provide the option on our website to give a direct donation to our partner in Brazil, instead of purchasing a photograph. The photographs are shipped using recycled/ plastic-free materials. The print shop and post office are of walking distance to my home, so the only carbon footprint comes from the printing materials and the shipping. The thank you card/ receipt is sent digitally.
How can our readers contribute?
PH: Readers who are artists/ photographers and are interested in donating a photograph and being part of the network mentioned above can reach out to us. And, for the others – we are a wonderful platform for those interested in eco-consumerism and are looking to purchase a positive piece of art for their homes.
This interview had been edited and condensed for clarity. Featured image is by Martin Podt (@martinpodt) | Courtesy: Photography For Future and the photographer.