Deeper Green documents front-line conservation efforts in Belize

Created in collaboration with the World Land Trust, an international conservation charity, photographer Colin Dodgson shadowed Belize’s rangers and environmental organisations to tell this evocative story.

6 March 2020
Reading Time
3 minute read

When Colin Dodgson first stepped off the plane in Belize, his first impression of the Caribbean country was that it was really laidback. He had ventured to the Central American nation with Jonny Lu, an ambassador for World Land Trust, an international conservation charity, to document one of the world’s most biologically significant habitats under threat. It was December 2018, and Colin and Jonny set out to gain insights into the organisations working on the ground and on the front line of Belize’s conservation efforts.

“I really wanted to show the most human side of doing conservation work,” Colin tells It’s Nice That of this project titled Deeper Green, “and how anyone can get involved to help in whatever way they can.” The evocative series is published in a book of the same title, with all proceeds going towards the World Land Trust. Colin and Jonny spent ten days in the field shadowing rangers from various sustainability programmes. Colin documented the jungles and forests, the desolate bumpy roads and rivers, ancient ruins and isolated communities in this evocative photographic narrative.

“It’s a small country with a small population,” says Colin. “Its beautiful natural habitats and good food make for something that feels quite ‘home-y’ even though it was halfway around the world and was completely new for me.” He felt at ease there, amongst the nourishing green landscapes and golden light. The only time he didn’t, he recalls, was when he heard about the scorpions that could fall through gaps in the thatched roof at night, right into your bed...

GalleryColin Dodgson: Deeper Green

Colin’s first experience of photography was through a course in high school, he recalls, which he took as a way to avoid something “more serious” like French or Statistics, he says. “I wasn’t immediately drawn to it for any reason,” he continues, “but I found the more I learned about it, the more I could use it to generate ideas in my head, or out of my head and into the world.” For Colin, photography is unique for its versatile ways of communicating. “It can be both passive and/or active in its approach,” he says. “Not many other mediums have that capability.”

In Deeper Green, the photographer makes use of both these approaches. On the one hand, the series is passive in its observational and non-linear documentation of the alluring landscape. The camera’s point of view feels objective in individual images, but when the series is viewed as a whole, it takes on a more active stance, one that loudly promotes environmentalism and conservation.

Colin presents the viewer with sun-soaked images bathed in an exotic hue, an iridescent sea shell wrapped in newspaper, sprouting growths on a horizontal tree trunk, and peaceful aquamarine lagoons. It looks heavenly to say the least, but importantly, the depiction is not fetishised or overly exoticised. Overall, it’s a beautiful series of images to look at, but the underlying argument is clear that, as Colin puts it, “by being active and doing something about it, however you can – donating time, talent, or money – it can really make a difference.”

GalleryColin Dodgson: Deeper Green

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Colin Dodgson: Deeper Green

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About the Author

Jyni Ong

Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.

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