Asher Jay National Geographic Explorer and Creative Conservationist
There were so many compelling submissions that it took me a considerable while to sieve through the large volume of images with avid birder and competent bird photographer Dorian Anderson. With his informed and passionate input, I was able to whittle down the incredible selection of shots that uniquely portrayed the diversity of birds extant in Colombia’s distinct habitats from the larger pool of photographs that failed the core parameters of this assignment.
Of the 410 images that really catered to this assignment in exceptional ways, I began to appraise the value of each image based on composition, lighting, species captured, and story conveyed. It was very difficult to decant the final edit, as there were over 40 stills that managed to do all those things, which forced me to tweak my criteria further. Consequently, I looked for divergent narrative styles, such that each shot I chose for the feature addressed the ask presented at the outset uniquely and effectively. This way all viewers can perceive the real strength of the Your Shot community—the ability to innovatively push the boundaries on captivating, collaborative storytelling.
To reiterate the parameters of Birds of a Feather, this assignment was looking for compelling images of birds that best exemplified the species found in Colombia. Why was this assignment so regionally specific? Because visual storytelling has the power to anchor an inchoate economy, in a value system that transcends the complete overshadowing of the wild for myopic monetary gain. Unless a camera captures and conveys these less observed organisms with an alien countenance to the public, their magic and beauty could be lost forever. As storytellers, you can bring into focus stories of living beings big and small, human and wild. You, as storytellers, can tastefully depict and ensure the preservation of life on Earth and cast a prominent light even on small, winged creatures that occupy the less explored areas of a country that wasn’t a preferred tourist destination until recently.
I thank every photographer who made this feature possible by realizing that within the narrow focus of this assignment lay the big opportunity to speak up for the wild birds of Colombia. I also commend those of you who correctly identified the species photographed and the location the image was acquired in; you made it significantly easier for me to curate your work.
National Geographic Explorer and Creative Conservationist
Asher Jay, is saving the world’s threatened wildlife—with creativity. Her cause-driven art, sculpture, design installations, films, and advocacy advertising campaigns bring attention to everything from the blood ivory trade to plastic pollution. Jay’s upcoming projects will tackle biodiversity loss due to wildlife trafficking and climate change. Tackling issue after issue, ...