Mission & Ethics

iLCP’s mission is to further environmental and cultural conservation through photography. We believe that awe-inspiring photography is a powerful tool in preserving the environment, especially when produced in collaboration with our committed Conservation Partners. We aim to replace environmental indifference with a new culture of stewardship and passion for our beautiful planet. Our objectives are to:

  • Use the power of photography to help educate the world community and to further conservation goals.
  • Create compelling and informed images and to develop visually based campaigns to promote conservation issues.
  • Facilitate the connection of photography with environmental, scientific, cultural media, governmental, religious and educational resources.
  • Be a virtual clearinghouse of information for members.
  • Promote a code of conduct for photographers.
  • Promote business practices that demand truth in and high ethical standards in captioning and manipulation.
  • Encourage conservation education.
  • Encourage an ethnically and geographically diverse membership.
  • Attract funding and grants to support photographers with innovative ideas to promote conservation.

Ethical Standards & Principles

Ethics plays a very strong role in iLCP and ethical considerations are central to every action and project that we undertake.  Our Fellows commit themselves to maintaining the highest ethical standards in their business practices, and behavior in the field. They pledge to advance ethical behavior throughout the photographic community by setting an example of integrity and professionalism.

In doing so, we have adopted the following set of principles:

  • Integrity: The effectiveness of our work in furthering conservation is directly tied to its being accepted as authentic, accurate and honest. In this we cannot compromise.
  • Respect: We believe in respectful and professional behavior toward our subjects, human or wild, as well as the people with whom we come in contact.
  • Professionalism: Our behavior as individuals reflects on the image and integrity of every other iLCP Fellow and influences the impact and credibility of the organization as a whole. Those who consistently violate these principles will be asked to relinquish their Fellowship.

Guided by these principles, we adopt the following policies:

Field Practices

iLCP Fellows pledge to minimize our impact on the areas and subjects we photograph.

  • We always place the welfare of our subjects above all else. Special care must be afforded breeding animals to avoid having a negative impact on reproductive success or add to the risk of predation. Key to this is the maintenance of safe, informed and responsible working distances
  • Minimize our impact on the landscape by following the “Leave No Trace – Pack It In, Pack it Out” ethic that maintains the integrity and character of the places we work.
  • Be aware of and follow all regulations and customs that might impact our behavior in the field.
  • Treat our partners in conservation – scientists, landowners, guides, and government officials – with respect and professionalism.
  • When working with indigenous people, we will make every effort to respect and accurately represent the cultural values and traditions of our subjects. When appropriate, we will seek the necessary permissions from government agencies and indigenous leadership.

Use of Captive Animals

In some cases, photographing captive animals can be a valuable source of rare imagery that can be valuable for specific conservation goals. However, the use of captive animals must be governed by the same ethical considerations as elsewhere:

  • The welfare of the animal should be paramount.
  • Any institution that exploits animals solely for profit should not be utilized or supported.
  • Images of captive animals will be honestly and accurately captioned and never represented as wild.

Digital Manipulation

The documentary power of a photograph is directly linked to its value as a record of real events. Yet, with the advent of digital technology, the manipulation of images has become both easier and more widespread and can undermine public confidence in photography as a factual record.

For this reason, we believe that image manipulation must never alter essential content in such a way that it either misrepresents actual events, or deceives the intended audience, in any context in which the truth of the image is assumed. Creative manipulation, when performed, must be fully disclosed to the end user.

Truth in Captioning

Photographs deliver information, which should be both accurate and honest. Inaccurate or dishonest captioning reduces the effectiveness of the image as a tool for conservation, subverts its message and undermines public trust.