Capturing Mother Nature: Daniel Beltrá

Updated: Apr 19, 2020



Artist Profile:

  • Daniel Beltrá was born in Madrid, Spain and is currently a photographer based in Seattle, Washington. For the past two decades, Beltrá has traveled to all seven continents to document and photograph the world's beauty and destruction.

  • His landscape photographs are primarily shot from an aerial view and reveal nature's wonders, including breathtaking shots of vast fields of water, ice, and earth.

  • Most importantly, his works draw attention to the shocking scale and impacts of climate change and environmental degradation. By capturing oil spills, deforestation, and global warming, Beltrá reminds viewers of the tragic aftermaths of not preserving and protecting the world's precious flora and fauna.


OIL SPILL:

In 2010, the biggest oil spill in the history of the United States occurred. It was called the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil spill and resulted in 200 gallons of crude oil to be spilled into the Gulf of Mexico for a period of 87 days. Over the course of these three months, many organisms were negatively impacted by the toxicity of the oil. From plankton to birds, these living creatures experienced disease, reduced growth, damaged reproduction, and much more. Beltrá spent two months photographing this environmental disaster, and these are some heart wrenching images that he produced.



Here is a video interview in which Daniel Beltrá shares more of his experience on photographing the Oil Spill:


AMAZON RAINFOREST:

For the past two weeks, the Amazon Rainforest has been burning and up until recently, there has been barely any media coverage. This is the largest rainforest in the world, producing 20% of the world's oxygen and sucking up 2 billion tons of carbon each year. This ecosystem is home to 3 million species and is one of the most important buffers against the climate crisis. This is a national crisis, but it had been immediately overlooked. After the burning of Notre Dame in Paris, people raised over 750 million Euros in ten days. The entire world was shocked and in awe of losing this holy church. However, the Amazon Rainforest that is burning at the rate of a football stadium a minute is receiving minimum attention. While the fires are now slowing down and the Amazon has finally received some rain, these miracles are not because of humans. In fact, humans are one of the main factors of deforestation. In 2012, Beltrá photographed the Amazon Rainforest and its declining state. Humans are continuously cutting down trees, and they are not only trying to make some cheap money, but they are also destroying wildlife. We only have one Amazon Rainforest, and we can not rebuild it. We can only protect it.



THE ARCTIC:

Daniel Beltrá has worked with Greenpeace, an environmental NGO, to help shoot pollution and global warming's impact on sea ice in polar regions like Antartica and Greenland. With Greenpeace, Beltrá traveled to the Southern Oceans in 2007 and the Arctic Circle in 2012. The rising temperatures have contributed to melting ice and a global rise in sea levels. Polar bears live in these cold arctic environments and rely on sea ice as a platform to reproduce, hunt, and rest. They use flat pieces of floating ice or "floes" to travel long distances. However, as the ice gets thinner, the ice also breaks up and polar bears need to find new "floes" to travel farther. This requires massive endurance for the polar bears, especially during the long summers with limited food resources. Will polar bears be able to adapt to changing conditions or is it too late? Only time can tell.



TAKE A STANCE:

Beltrá uses his photographs to raise awareness on the world's ongoing environmental issues. Are you ready to take your own action? Here is a link to take the Beat Pollution Pledge.

 

Sources:

https://www.artworksforchange.org/portfolio/daniel-beltra/

https://danielbeltra.photoshelter.com/about/index

https://www.niva.no/en/publications/environmental-effects-of-the-deepwater-horizon-oil-spill

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