Seven-Day Nature Challenge a different perspective

The Challenge

When a friend nominated me last fall to share a nature photo on Facebook for seven days, I cringed, but agreed.

Paul Strand, who's had a profound influence on my work has been quoted saying, "The important thing is, you've got to have something to say about the world." With that in mind, I chose to approach the nature challenge from a different perspective: Human interaction with and impact on nature. Each image would represent at least one intersection between humans and nature.

The project was more of a challenge than I imagined. I envisioned several very specific images I hoped to share, and set out to capture them — unsuccessfully, thanks to my schedule and Mother Nature. Apropos, no?

Outtake — Don't fence me in!

The images

I've included a few outtakes here, along with my seven images. Some are more subtle than others.

Day 1 — By any other name

by any other name

Humans are the most destructive creature on the planet, yet not all of our interactions with nature are negative. Some are complex webs spun with strands of appreciation, manipulation and frustration.

That rose was selectively bred for color, disease resistance and more. This symbol of love was likely cultivated using chemicals harmful to the environment. Its story of interaction with humans is as complicated as our loves can be.

Outtake — Rocky Mountain High
Day 2 - Put up a parking lot

Put up a parking lot

Joni Mitchell's song "Big Yellow Taxi" was a reaction to her perception of human-induced blight on paradise. Our incessant urban sprawl has created a tension between nature and "progress." Is it worth the cost?

Day 3 - Restore


It's complicated. Though many of our actions destroy it, we crave time in nature. Why do so few of us work to protect and restore habitats and preserve it for future generations?

Day 4 — Without a trace

without a trace

Our urban areas are locked in a cycle of building, abandonment, decay and regeneration—followed by gentrification. Though we destroy its habitat, nature remains resilient—ready to regenerate if given a chance. But not all nature is pristine. Invasive species like "Tree of Heaven" pictured here can choke out beneficial plants—not unlike our urban growth patterns.

Outtake — No escape
Day 5 — Perched


Our society is perched on the precipice of our children's future. Their children and grandchildren will live with the choices we make. What will our legacy be?

Outtake — Smoke and Mirrors
Day 6 — Use your powers for good

use your powers for good

We all have choices — as individuals and as part of society.

Day 7 — Closing time

closing time

It might be later than we think. What is the sum of our impact on nature, balanced against the necessities for our survival? Even farming is a mixed bag. What is the true cost of corporate farming complete with genetically modified crops—on nature and on us?

the takeaway

This project proved more of a challenge and more rewarding than I anticipated. I set it aside in frustration after not capturing several specific images. Then life intervened. It didn't come to fruition until another friend proposed the nature challenge again — months later.

Yet the concept stayed on my mind. I'm still not a nature photographer, but I hope some of these images speak to the questions of our impact on and interaction with nature. It's now become one of my ongoing projects - perhaps someday it will evolve into a body of work.

Created By
Melanie J. Rice


All images copyright Melanie J. Rice, Denver, CO

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.