Blue Earth Alliance: Collaborations for Cause 2016



Founded in 1996 by Natalie FobesPhil Borges and Malcolm Edwards, Blue Earth Alliance offers resources and support for photographers to fulfill projects that positively impact the world. Among the projects supported by Blue Earth Alliance are Sara Terry’s Aftermath Project, Matt Black's People of the Clouds, Tim Matsui's Leaving The Life, Subhanker Banerjee’s Land as Home and Camille Seaman’s Siberia Is Melting.

Blue Earth believes that environmental and cultural documentary photographs and films can educate the public and inspire positive change. They also help support visual storytelling and collaborations with our annual conference.



Collaborations for Cause (C4C) is a two-day event that brings together cutting-edge content creators and front-line organizations for an exploration of how to harness the power of the evolving media landscape. Presented by Blue Earth Alliance, the fourth annual conference builds upon the organization's 20-year history of facilitating issue-driven visual storytelling. With a mix of presentations by leading experts, in-depth case studies showcasing real projects, insightful arm-chair conversations, and break-out sessions, participants will leave inspired and armed with fresh approaches, an expanded network of contacts and new resolve to build lasting positive change.


PhotoWings is honored to continue our partnership with Blue Earth Alliance.
Collaborations for Cause (C4C) 2017 was held May 5-6 in Seattle, Washington.


Louie Schwartzberg - Learning Through Gratitude

Daniel Beltrá - Changing Perspectives


Roger Ressmeyer - Hope, Health and Happiness:
Working Together to Save Planet Earth

Roger Ressmeyer shares the origins of the Visions of Tomorrow documentary film project and how it offers real solutions for some of the world’s most pressing problems. With a background in space and science photography for National Geographic, Time and The New York Times, as well as key learnings from his current endeavor, Roger shares hope, practical advice and collaborative ideas on how all of us can work together to move projects from vision to completion.

Sara Terry: The Aftermath Project, War is Only Half the Story: from project to non-profit - Collaborations for Cause 2016 

Sara Terry shares the pros and cons of starting a non-profit as a photographer, and how her own passion for an issue led from a long-term personal project to a grant making program for other artists. Now in the 10th year of the Aftermath Project, Sara reflects on the privilege of curating a conversation, the challenges of fundraising on behalf of other people's projects and how to maintain her own vision, integrity and artistry throughout.

Daniel Beltrá

Born in Madrid, Spain, Daniel Beltrá is a photographer based in Seattle, Washington. Daniel is known for his large scale environmental photography, shot from the air. Over the past two decades, Beltrá’s work has taken him to all seven continents, including several expeditions to the Brazilian Amazon, the Arctic, the Southern Oceans and the Patagonian ice fields. For his work on the Gulf Oil Spill, in 2011 he received the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award and the Lucie Award for the International Photographer of the Year - Deeper Perspective.

Tom Kennedy - Using Collaboration to Make Impactful Change

Visual communication is increasingly powerful in today's world as a language. Yet at the same time, it is too often under appreciated and underutilized by organizations as a tool for building bridges of connection within audiences to stories that resonate and incite positive change. Tom Kennedy discusses the elements needed in a collaboration process to use this language effectively and how organizations can ensure their teams create strong visual messaging.

Tim Greyhavens – Aligning Photography and Philanthropy to Tell Your Story

Great photographers have attracted inspired philanthropists since the earliest days of the art. The two are a natural match: photographers need funding to tell their stories, and philanthropy needs photographers to show why their funding matters. But what makes a story compelling enough to make someone want to give money so the story will be told? In this session, foundation director and photographer Tim Greyhavens will share his experience in navigating the sometimes confusing yet rewarding world of fundraising for a photographic project. Whether you’re approaching a foundation, a government agency, an individual or an online audience, you’ll find something in this talk that will help you understand the buzzwords, processes, politics and personalities of philanthropy.

A Different Ending: When Documentary filmmaking and Non-Profit Messaging Conflict – Amy Benson and Scott Squire 

Scott Squire and Amy Benson, a married documentary team, traveled to Nepal to make promotional piece for an NGO that provides scholarships for girls to go to school. When tragedy befell one of the girls’ they filmed, they were compelled to unearth the deeper story—one that was at odds with the NGO’s messaging. What is the media maker’s responsibility when the story they find is not what they were sent to document? .

The Power of Story: Building Bridges and Advocacy for Obstetric Fistula – Kristie McLean

After years of profiling global issues such as unexploded ordnances, child brides and water scarcity, Kristie McLean traveled to Ethiopia in 2010 to learn about the childbirth injury Obstetric Fistula. Horrified by the preventable suffering of women and girls, she realized quickly that photography wasn’t enough. Kristie has created relationships and ongoing solutions with key stakeholders for fistula patients’ empowerment and self-sufficiency. She hopes her efforts will inspire others to be willing to move beyond intended projects and leverage the greatest medium of all: the heart.

Feeding Your Beasts: Distribution in Social and Digital Media Platforms – David Patton

Don’t think of the preponderance of social and digital media platforms as a burden. They are an opportunity to tell your story in slightly different ways and reach diverse audiences – if you factor them in when you are in the creating phase.

Head, Heart or Gut? Making Science Matter to Coastal Communities – Julia K Parrish

Julia Parrish is centered on the intersection between marine ecology, conservation and resource management, and how non-experts and non-scientists can be involved in documenting pattern, collecting baseline information and being an essential part of a science team. She runs a large citizen science project, the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team, or COASST. They use beach-cast marine birds as one indicator of coastal ecosystem health. Their data speaks to conservation issues as diverse as harmful algal blooms, climate forcing, fishery impacts, and oil spills.

Image Testing: What They See Matters – Jeff Cappella

Does a photo “say” to you what it says to the viewers you’re trying to reach or inspire? If an image is inspirational for you upon close consideration, will it be so for someone giving it just a quick glance online? It helps to test our photos with eyes beyond our own, and in recent years Resource Media has been testing images in non-profit advocacy communications with audiences in-person and online, in research settings and real-world campaigns. In this presentation we will share some of the findings that have emerged repeatedly and also share tips for doing image-testing, an area of increasing interest for non-profits today.

Raising Awareness: Visual Stories of Science – Alasdair Turner

Telling scientific stories through photography requires a different approach than many other types of visual storytelling. Science is based on experimental results and observations. Personal biases and scientific inaccuracies are minimized by the use of peer review. Photographers looking to tell the story of scientific research must strive to tell the science as accurately as possible while still presenting compelling images. Alasdair Turner will present examples from his current project on Antarctic science to illustrate how to raise awareness of important scientific work using photos that accurately represent scientific work while still keeping the viewer engaged through compelling imagery.

Drones for Good – Romeo Durscher

Romeo's presentation will take the audience into the skies, showcasing how this technology has already impacted and helped all over the world. It will include stories of how humanitarian organizations are using drones, how post-disaster aerial projects have helped entire villages in Nepal after the earthquake and how a single quadcopter can save elephants. In his fun and entertaining presentation Romeo will also take the crowd into Son Doong, the World’s largest cave in Vietnam, giving a glimpse into this fascinating area from the viewpoint of a drone. Romeo will also be available for one-on-one conversations and breakout sessions during the two days of the event.