Seek Out What Makes Us Unique
Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow of Australia
Denise writes today about a topic that is timely for all of us. She writes about the introduction of non-native species in her country, and the effect it has on the landscape and on the life that it sustains. As traveling photographers we should require ourselves to learn as much as we can about the native flora and fauna of the countries we visit, and celebrate them through our photographs. Yet so many images are spoiled by non-native species in the background of otherwise indigenous subjects. Don't be one of those shooters who overlooks the obvious out of ignorance.
What is beautiful in the nature that surrounds us?
If you asked my neighbors and fellow citizens in Australia's Northern Territory, I'm sure most would point to bougainvillea, frangipani, or any of other thousands of ornamental plants that have been brought to Australia since white settlement. In the Top End where I live, garden upon garden down every street features introduced plants from Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia.
Residents in Darwin have actually fought to retain Poinciana, a native of Madagascar, and Mexican coral vine, species that are gradually smothering those few patches of native monsoon forest still found in the city. Even some of our legislators and public servants appear to prefer the colourcoordinated beds of variegated shrubs and golden potato vine Ipomoea batatas aurea that are finding their way into road plantings.
To many who live here, such introduced plants are the