Forum – Concerned Photography Today – Nov 23

Forum – Concerned Photography Today – Nov 23

Presentations and reception with photographers Jason Houston, Bear Guerra, Morgan Heim, and Claudia Lopez
Saturday, November 23, 3 – 6 pm. $8 CPAC members and students with ID/$12 general
At CPAC. Space is limited. Advance booking or RSVP to 303-837-1341 recommended

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*Online registration for this event is closed – please call the Center at 303-837-1341 to determine if space is available.


From its beginnings, photography has been a powerful tool to raise awareness around social and environmental issues. And care for their subjects and concern for the issues remains a primary impulse for many photographers, while changes in technology and the continuously evolving media landscape creates both exciting opportunities and new challenges in making and distributing this work. Boulder-based conservation photographer Jason Houston will lead a discussion with fellow photographers Bear Guerra, Morgan Heim, and Claudia Lopez as they share projects from around the world and talk about different ways cause-driven photography is done today.

Jason will moderate the program and share images from over a dozen projects that explore the intersection of social concerns and environmental issues in the developing tropics.

Bear will talk about the trajectory his work has taken over the last several years, highlighting some of the stories that have led him to his current project exploring the social, cultural, and environmental impacts of the recently completed Interoceanic Highway in Southern Peru.

Through CAT in WATER, Morgan will demonstrate how visual media is playing a pivotal role in assisting the conservation of Thailand’s endangered fishing cats. What started as a small Kickstarter project to document the search for one of the world’s rarest wild cats, has since blossomed into a cross continental media campaign and key fundraising tool for the cat’s conservation in Thailand. This project illustrates how small-scale, focused, personal storytelling can lead to deep connections with potential supporters and enable local communities to keep striving for conservation success.

Claudia will talk about her ongoing project in the high Himalayas documenting the lives of the porters and Sherpas that take part on expeditions during the mountaineering seasons, their power structure and economic struggles.

BIOS – Jason Houston
Jason Houston has worked in visual communication for over 20 years, much of the time as an independent photographer / filmmaker doing magazine, book, and NGO assignments as well as related long-term personal projects on social and environmental issues. Recent subjects include deforestation in Borneo, watershed conservation in the Peruvian Amazon, fisheries in the Sea of Cortez, and agricultural heritage on the Navajo reservation in Arizona. His work has appeared in large market outlets such as The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian, Photo District News, Discover, Business Week, The Nature Conservancy, Audubon, and the United Nations, as well as boutique outlets like Gastronomica, Orion, Day Light, The Drake, and Bike Magazine. He has photographed several books, including Reclaiming Our Food: How the grassroots food movement is changing the way we eat (Storey Publishing, 2011), which documented community-based food programs across the country and was named one of the “Top 10 Books on the Environment” in 2012 by the American Library Association.

Jason has exhibited widely and has lectured often on his work at venues including Mountainfilm, San Francisco Art Institute, Harvard, Yale, Duke, Williams College, The New Mexico Museum of Art, and the Nevada Museum of Art. He also teaches photography and documentary workshops privately and for various organizations including the Wild & Scenic Film Festival in California and this summer at the prestigious Anderson Ranch in Snowmass, Colorado. From 2004-2012 he was photo editor for Orion magazine and in April 2013 he co-chaired and presented at the 2nd annual “Collaborations for Cause” conference in Portland, Oregon. Jason is currently the first national board member for Blue Earth (a non-profit fiscal sponsor for independent documentary projects) where he has served as an advisor since 2008.


Bear Guerra
Bear Guerra is a photographer who focuses on humanitarian, environmental, and social justice issues. Currently, he’s a Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado – Boulder.

His images, photo essays, and multimedia stories have been published widely by The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Orion Magazine, OnEarth, and many others. In addition to editorial assignments, he also focuses on longer-term work, and in the past few years has worked on projects in Mexico, Bolivia, Haiti, Brazil, Panama, Peru, Turkey, and Thailand. He also collaborates regularly with non-profit organizations working for human rights and on environmental issues. Bear’s work has been exhibited in the U.S. and abroad, including as part of Aguas, Rios, y Pueblos, an international traveling exhibit and book about global water justice issues.

In the Fall of 2012, he was chosen as a Blue Earth Alliance sponsored photographer for his ongoing body of work “La Carretera: Life Along Peru’s Interoceanic Highway” – which was also featured on NPR’s Picture Show blog earlier this year. Bear was a finalist for a National Magazine Award in Photojournalism in 2010 for work from Haiti; and has been the recipient of funding from the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Puffin Foundation, the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, and the Christensen Fund/Project Word.

In the recent past, Bear was the photographer and creative director for the (In)Visible Project – a mobile, multimedia installation for public spaces that offers a human portrait of homelessness in San Diego, California; as well as a lead instructor at the AjA Project, a participatory photography program that works with refugee youth.

A native of San Antonio, TX, Bear is presently based in Boulder, CO with his daughter, Camila, and wife and collaborator, journalist Ruxandra Guidi. Guidi and Guerra often work together under the name Fonografia Collective to produce local and international print, radio, and multimedia stories.


Morgan Heim
Morgan Heim develops visual media projects designed to break researchers out of lab coat stereotypes, explore wild places and raise the social standing of the planet’s more controversial, misunderstood, or under-appreciated critters.

With a background in zoology and environmental journalism, she employs photographic techniques ranging from aerials to camera traps and photojournalism in her quest to share stories that matter. Morgan is an Associate Fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers, (iLCP), and her work has appeared in such outlets as Smithsonian, National Parks, National Geographic NewsWatch, National Wildlife,, Outdoor Photographer and High Country News. She collaborates with environmental non-profits, government agencies and research institutes on special film projects, transforming science education into personal story experiences.

When she’s not working on assignment you can most likely find her embracing her inner geek, reading zombie novels and playing video games.


Claudia Camila Lopez
“I’m just not from around here.” She says it often. It speaks to who she is, what she does, and how she does it. She is Claudia Camila Lopez. Her journey begins in Bogotá, Colombia, at more than 8000 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains. Coming of age in a cosmopolitan metropolis ringed by sharp mountain peaks left its mark. It gave her a passion bordering on obsession with altitude, a love for hybrid cultures, and an eye for the meeting of extremes. It gave her a patient stubbornness seemingly out of proportion to her diminutive stature. And it gave her photography.

After 14 years involved in advertising, Claudia took a drastic turn from the safety and comfort of the studio environment into the changing world of the Himalayan high mountains and the uncertainty of conflict zones. Working as a Cultural and Adventure Documentarian, she has travelled to Tibet, Nepal, Kashmir, Ladakh, the Middle East and Afghanistan. Claudia is a regular contributor to Der Spiegel and Gory Magazine, a TED Speaker and teacher. Currently she is working in 2 monographs: Cardinal Points (women & violence in Colombia) and Tres (Sherpas & Porters in the Himalayas).

Due to her penchant for jokes and dance moves, and her cool head in times of trouble and danger, she has been nicknamed The Vibe Guru.