Nature and Human Lives Seek Equilibrium in Galapagos
I've always been interested in nature and environmentalism. So the Galapagos was an obvious choice for my project because of its unique environment and such an array of species. Located below the equator on the Pacific Ocean, about 900 kilometers from the mainland of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands have long been a haven for wildlife and flourishing environmental diversity. In recent times the islands have seen a large increase in tourism, and the local population have become modernized in industry and daily life. The result has had an impact on the fragile islands as urban development and increased footfall have threatened some species.
I visited the islands to document the beauty and diversity of the animal species that currently inhabit them. The first thing that surprised me was how close I could get to almost all of the wildlife on the islands and how I needed to watch my step at almost every turn to avoid stepping on a marine iguana, sea lion, etc.
For example, when I went to visit the giant tortoises, I was absolutely overwhelmed. It was incredible to see these magnificent animals interacting with each other, with one couple mating and others wallowing in waterpools. It was naturally spectacular. While documenting this I also captured all of the animals’ evolving lifestyles as they adapt to survive among a growing human population and visitor numbers. The images show the animals in the environment they are now co-habiting, whether it is a roadside or an area among the island's houses and buildings.
The images also show it as part of the conservation that is being undertaken by certain individuals and groups. Likewise, many locals have put in measures to look after the wildlife that is sometimes literally on their doorstep. While showing the animals having to adapt to modern human civilization, I have tried to display how this civilization is attempting to help the animals adapt.
I approached this by not only showing how the islands are changing and how the animals are having to adapt to this change but also how the humans on the islands try to adapt with them and how the two attempt to live side by side as a modern environment encroaches on an environmental safe haven.
About Chris J Ratcliffe
Chris J Ratcliffeis a professional photojournalist regularly commissioned by Getty Images to capture events and stories on current affairs and social issues. Working across a varied medium, Chris uses his photography to tell stories of worldwide and cultural significance as well as highlighting important social and environmental issues.