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Keith Dotson | Catching Shadows

THE OFFICIAL BLOG OF FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHER KEITH DOTSON

Love Your Landscape

Love Your Landscape

Announcing the ‘Love Your Landscape’ public service campaign

LOVE YOUR LANDSCAPE is my public service campaign to remind people of three things:

  1. To fill their lives with landscape art
  2. To “love their landscape” by caring for and enjoying their local environment
  3. To monitor how the actions of our government and corporations impact the environment

Love your landscape. It means fill your life with landscape art, but also pay attention to what's happening with the environment.

Landscape photographers have a unique perspective on the environment

As a landscape photographer, I have many reasons to be an environmentalist. I spend a lot of time hiking in places other people don’t necessarily go. And while the landscape may seem pristine to the casual observer, I can tell you that I wade through a lot of trash. Roadsides are full of all kinds of garbage — much more than you might think — because most of it isn’t visible from a passing car.

There's abundant trash to be found along roadways, especially in states like Tennessee with ineffective or absent adopt-a-highway programs
There’s abundant trash to be found along roadways, especially in states like Tennessee with ineffective or absent adopt-a-highway programs.

Rivers and stream beds are often choked with all kinds and sizes of litter. And how often have you seen plastic shopping bags snagged on a fence or tree branch, blowing around in the breeze? But even worse, many lakes I have photographed may look beautiful, but have fish that aren’t safe to eat due to chemical run-off, or intentional dumping.

Rivers and stream beds collect a lot of trash, especially after heavy rains.
Rivers and stream beds collect a lot of trash, especially after heavy rains.

I was just a very small boy when I first became aware of environmental issues. While riding through the mountains with my parents, I looked out the car window at a mountaintop removal strip mine in action across the valley. I remember asking my mother what it was, and she said it was a strip mine. My reaction was visceral. I remember being flustered at even such a young age. I think I asked her how that could be allowed. Does the mining company own the view? Can they just ruin a mountain? Is it legal? Of course, my young mind had no concept of the other harmful side effects of such a mining operation on the workers, on the rivers catching sludge in the valley, and on the air quality as the coal goes to power plants.

These are the reasons I have been a lifelong environmentalist and why I started this campaign with the three goals listed above

I want people to fill their lives with landscape art

This may seem like a self-serving idea for a landscape artist, but there’s a reason. First of all, having landscape art in your indoor environments will make you happier and possibly even healthier. Humans have an innate need to interact with the landscape, but that doesn’t happen as often as it should for most of us living modern city life. But also, having images of the landscape in your life will serve to remind you and your family of the value of the Earth and our environment. Buy landscape art from a local artist. Or, go out and take your own landscape photographs, print them, and hang them up in a frame. Or, best idea of all, hang landscape drawings that your kids made with crayons or tempera paint in a nice frame. However you choose to do it, honor the landscape with a place in your home or office.

I want people to love their landscape by caring for and enjoying their local environment

One of the best ways to value the environment is to fall in love with it through frequent use. Go to your local parks. Take your children on hikes. Go on camping trips to state parks or national parks. Teach your young people the value of fresh air and exercise, while instilling in them the importance of caring for the Earth. Gain a sense of ownership — these lands belong to all of us. Take responsibility for their well-being. This is your landscape — love it.

I want people to monitor how the actions of our government and corporations impact the environment

As you and your family love your landscape and take emotional ownership of it, be sure to pay attention to the actions of the government and corporations. We are going through a period where public lands are at great risk. The Federal government seeks to privatize many public lands and parks, making them available for fossil fuel exploration, drilling, fracking, and mining. Make your voice heard in these matters. Short-sighted decisions made for political expediency or quick profits, can have long term term consequences for the quality of parks and for the health of the environment.

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