Some of the most important and celebrated landscape photographers have been motivated by an appreciation of the beauty of the natural environment and a desire to see it preserved.
When we look at a landscape, our eyes travel over it and selectively focus on the elements that we find appealing. Our field of vision encompasses a great deal of the scene, but our eyes and brains have the ability to ignore all except the most alluring details. Lenses and sensors or film cannot do this by themselves. They need help. An area of light, water or the sunrise.
The work of William Henry Jackson in the mid-19th century was instrumental in convincing Congress in 1872 to create Yellowstone, the first national park in the United States.
Photography produced by Philip Hyde for the Sierra Club found extensive use in promoting the preservation of natural places in the Western United States during the 20th century.
Renowned landscape photographer Ansel Adams received both a Conservation Service Award and a Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of the influence of his work on the preservation of wilderness and fostering of environmental consciousness.