Dominika is a passionate wildlife photographer originally from Poland and currently based in Iceland. Her keen eye for capturing emotional moments in nature caught our attention immediately. One of her photos, ‘Little Grey,’ has been recently featured in our gallery and does well to represent the underlying message behind all her photos: that all creatures of nature are sentient beings that we can relate to.
Here she has taken some time here to answer a few questions, including more about the story behind ‘Little Grey’:
The story of Little Grey is quite impressive. What does the photo of Little Grey mean to you now? Is this different than when you first took the photo?
From the very early years of my life, I dreamed of meeting dolphins and whales. At that time, amusement parks seemed like a place where I could make my dream come true. I was a little child naively believing in the pictures of happy dolphins shown by the marine theme parks. Fortunately, I watched the film 'Free Willy' and my whole idea of marine parks was completely ruined. This event shook me strongly and showed how important it is to spread awareness among people. An image has perhaps the greatest impact on our imagination, so I am very happy to make the story of Little Grey and Little White reach more people and hopefully awaken the desire to protect the dolphins and whales that are cruelly used in amusement parks.
I would like to use this moment to appeal to people who may be considering going to a marine park explaining that they only want to do this once in their lives. I have heard this argument too many times to go past this indifferently. "Only once in a lifetime," thousands of people said. And because of that attitude, this cruel business continues condemning so many sentient beings to suffer. It depends on each of us what their future will be like; we are all responsible. The place of cetaceans is not in concrete, microscopic pools, their place is in freedom.
What inspires you to take photographs?
I have been inspired by the greatest artist -- nature -- from the very beginning of my adventures with photography. Nothing in the world makes me happier than moments spent on the bosom of nature. I believe that many people could now nod their heads to agree to what I have just said. All of us, or at least most of us, cannot imagine life without nature and yet our daily choices contribute to harm the natural world. As my hero David Attenborough said: “Nature is our greatest ally. If we take care of nature, nature will take care of us.” I travel the world taking pictures to show what we can lose irretrievably if we don't come to our senses and start taking care of our only home.
Have you personally seen the effects of environmental damage, deforestation, pollution, trash when out photographing?
Unfortunately, I have seen it all during my travels. This is an unavoidable part of every trip I make. I think Borneo was the place that shook me most. For as long as I can remember, that country was at the top of my bucket list.
But I never dreamed of deforestation clearing Earth's forests on a massive scale. I never dreamed of palm oil plantations stretching into the distance for as far as the eye can see. And I never dreamed of seeing how people destroy their own only home. And sadly, I have experienced it all in Borneo. Not to mention the trash accumulated in the stunning sapphire waters and emerald isles of the Semporna Archipelago.
Why did you want to get involved with Photography for Future?
When Photography for Future asked me if I would like to donate my photograph to charity, I had no doubt that I would want to be part of efforts aimed at repairing the damage we have done to the natural world. The will to help restore ecological balance was one of the reasons I became a photographer in the first place.
What, in your opinion, is most important to consider while shooting wildlife pictures?
I think that ours and animals’ safety should be the top priority when we are out shooting. No picture in the world is worth our nature’s welfare. I have seen too many photographers forgetting about ethics. A good photo does not justify an unethical approach.
What is the most rewarding part of being a photographer for you?
There are so many! It’s hard to choose the most rewarding one. But, as I said before, I really hope that my pictures speak to people and this will make a difference. If that happens, it will certainly be the most rewarding part! :)
Thanks Dominika for being part of this project and thanks to you, reader, for reading this!
Dominika's photograph of 'Little Grey' is available for sale in our gallery and 100% of the profits go directly towards our conservation projects. You can click here to directly view or purchase the photograph.