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Changing Perceptions of the Everglades with Immersive Photography

Changing Perceptions of the Everglades with Immersive Photography

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Discover the beauty and importance of the Everglades through the lens of local photographer Luca Martinez.

Despite its importance as one of the most diverse and unique ecosystems in the world, the Everglades is much misunderstood and often portrayed as a useless swamp.
Together with The Everglades Foundation and VISIT FLORIDA, UNESCO has launched a new digital exhibit of ‘The River of Grass’ as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Collection on the Google Arts & Culture platform, in an effort to change these perceptions and promote preservation and restoration of this important ecosystem. The exhibit coincides with both the 75th Anniversary of Everglades National Park and the 50th Anniversary of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention.

It showcases the intricate ecology of the Everglades through the inspired lens of 18-year-old nature photographer Luca Martinez, a Miami native who has been shooting photos regularly in the Everglades for the past three years.
Social media platforms have the reach and influence to impact large audiences especially among the youth – a powerful boon to conservation efforts like this one – and Martinez puts the power of his following on TikTok and Instagram to good use. “Both have proven to be instrumental in reaching my generation and cutting through the clutter to raise awareness about conservation and inspire action,” he said.

Begoñe Cazalis, Director of Communications for The Everglades Foundation, who curated the exhibit along with Martinez and The Everglades Foundation science team, stated that it was Martinez’s presence on social media, along with the quality of his work, that brought him to the foundation’s attention. She went on to say that they “wanted to make sure that it was a young voice, truly passionate about the Everglades, who could bring these pictures and videos together.”

It took a year to capture all the footage used in the exhibit, as the team behind it wanted to ensure that all four seasons were represented. It was a year full of early mornings and long days, hiking and wading sometimes chest-deep in the water, and a lot of patience and dedication. But Martinez’s passion for both the project and the ecosystem it showcases carried him through, as he stated “it was not so much of a challenge for me because I love it.”
Cazalis said the goal of the exhibit is “to expose people to the singular beauty of the Everglades, its functions, and restoration efforts.”

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Not only is the Everglades a spectacular sight and an incredibly biodiverse ecosystem, but it’s also a crucial water source for millions of South Floridians and a vital part of the fishing, agriculture, and tourism industries. We need to do everything we can to protect it. Check outThe River of Grass digital exhibit to learn more!.

Haz clic para leer en Español: Cambiando la percepción de los Everglades con la fotografía inmersiva

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