Florida Stewards Project – 104 portraits and counting

Dustin Angell holding up the current issue of Heartland Living. Photo by Dustin Angell.

Author: Zach Forsburg

Dustin Angell, Archbold’s Director of Education, is an environmental educator and conservation photographer living and working in the Headwaters of the Florida Everglades. He builds community relationships and interprets ecological research for audiences of all ages. Dustin’s photography documents the science and conservation challenges of the region and the people trying to solve them.

Since 2014, Dustin has been photographing conservation workers from across Florida, including biologists, artists, and even cattle ranchers for his ‘Florida Stewards Project.’ This photo project aims to document the people, places, and careers related to conservation in the headwaters region of the Florida Everglades. To that end, the subjects each pose in their work clothes while holding the tools they use. Due to the importance of conservation to the community, these settings are subjects, too, and include: grasslands, scrublands, pinelands, ranchlands, wetlands, and others. Dustin stated, “Photographers have done this with many subcultures. After moving to the area in 2012, I found myself incorporated into a community built on science and conservation. And these people made up not just my professional network, but almost my entire social life, too. I felt that because of my photography skill set and access to their world, I had a responsibility to future generations to document their stories.”

Dustin’s portraits, now numbering 104, are featured in the August-September issue of Heartland Living Magazine (https://heartlandlivingmagazine.com/). Many of the portraits featured in the magazine are of employees, interns, or volunteers at Archbold. Describing his photographs, Dustin stated “They are modern, secular versions of Renaissance saint depictions, something you might see in a European art history book. Many elements of the portraits, like setting and lighting, postures and expressions, and even the angle I photograph from (usually kneeling on the ground) are intended to highlight the heroic aspects of the subjects. After all, these stewards spend hundreds or thousands of hours in Florida’s hot and humid interior.”

To learn more about Dustin’s ‘Florida Stewards Project,’ visit his website at: https://www.dustinangellphoto.com/florida-stewards.  Dustin reflected, “Ultimately, I wish for future generations of Floridians to share and pass along a home that is alive with wild places and healthy ecosystems. These portraits are for them: a reminder of the community of people who, at a critical time in our history, oriented their lives and careers toward the stewardship needed to deliver that future.”

Portrait of wildlife biologist Emily Angell. Photo by Dustin Angell.

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