Tree Hugger

Tree hugger- a slightly derogatory term for someone annoying because of being too concerned about protecting trees and the natural world – I think I am this annoying creature! Firstly I am an environmentalist and secondly I am a photographer very much in love with these most graceful creations.  I can’t remember literally hugging the tree, so no, you will not see me at dawn or dusk wearing a white dress and flowers in my hair dancing around the tree, but I do touch the bark of trees and familiarise myself with the texture, I admire trees’ amazing shapes, the variety of leaves shapes and colours, I analyse the seasonal changes and try to portrait the trees  in all their beauty. Initially I was interested in recording nature in general; many years of hard work and I attained a postgraduate degree in botany. It seems that after university my professional career took a sudden twist and it was quite a few years after, that again, I took the camera into my hands. I have started taking pictures of landscapes, seascapes and even architecture but it seems that once a hugger, always a hugger and trees are continuously popping up here and there in my photos.  Lately, after lengthy conversations with my friend about it, I have started to think, can I really use the word “environmentalist” to describe myself? After all, I am not in any government or environmental organization, I don’t actively campaign on a big scale, I don’t analyse the baseline data and with a mile long reports knock at the politician’s doors and I have very little influence on well known international environmental agreements. Very little doesn’t however mean not at all! My protection work is at the very base level; I understand how the ecosystem works, I practice protecting the natural environment, I am careful with the use of water, I recycle, my home is energy efficient,  I make other people aware of the challenges and campaign for little projects that are close to my heart (look at my earlier blog “Save Salgados” here I also photograph the beauty of the natural world and if any of my images made someone stop and think: “wow, we need to keep this world intact”, it is a start, as there will be yet another individual that is going to choose to act in a responsible way and feel morally obliged for the tasks contributing to the environmental protection. So tree hugger, naturalist or environmentalist? It doesn’t matter, as long as I can somehow save even one tree in my lifetime!













  1. Deborah HughesDeborah Hughes02-04-2014

    Thoughtful musings and photography and environmentalism. On a trip with my oldest granddaughter several years ago (she was 6 at the time), she was strapped into the back seat drawing with colored pencils when she pipe up – You’re a tree hugger, aren’t you? Initially taken aback, I replied – I respect other life forms other than humans, trees included, and try to minimize harm, but I don’t jump up and down about it. She – Well, I just like to climb them! And that was that.

    I’m often conflicted about how my photography impacts landscapes and places that are easily impacted by human activities, even hiking. The big questions – Does photography devalue such environments by making their image into a commodity? Does my photography advertise travel and exploration into sensitive places for the sole purpose of “getting the pic”? I could make myself crazy about such things. I see my role as educating my grandchildren and others I come into contact with as to a softer tread and closer connection to the natural environment.

    It is a difficult stance to stand against the buzz and on the side of a tree. I stand with you.

  2. adminadmin02-04-2014

    Thank you Deborah for sharing your thoughts with me! I think we both perceive the protection of the environment similarly – sensible, softer approach is possibly a better option than an aggressive one. I have lately challenged myself and will try to do a bit, as the planet deserves it. I believe that travel and sightseeing, if well structured, can bring potentially some financial benefits that can be ploughed back to the areas in need of some assistance, after all, we can’t turn the planet into a museum and hide the key! I giggled when reading about your granddaughter liking to climb trees – well, I remember doing the same when young – climbing trees was such fun! I am sure having you around, the care of the environment will be a huge part of her life!

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