An environmental advocate who has worked as a photojournalist, Tipper Gore’s photo essay in our Spring issue on Bishop Glacier in British Columbia combines these two pursuits. Her piece, which includes expansive shots of the glaciers, provides striking visual evidence for climatic changes that have already occurred. Gore continues to promote environmental awareness through The Climate Project, where her photos raise funds for the cause. I e-mailed her for a short chat about the ways in which her art and her activism intersect.
You got your start as a photojournalist for the Nashville Tennessean before your husband was elected to Congress in 1976. Has photography affected your work in politics and your life as a public figure?
I feel comfortable behind a camera, as an observer of events as well as a participant. Our life in public service has given me unique opportunities to photograph people and places I would not otherwise have seen. Where the issue of homeless people and programs are concerned, I was able to replace statistics with a human face, with the hope of inspiring individual and community action.
What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
I like trying to capture the humanity and spirit of people on the streets, around the world. I love photographing landscapes, trees and water in particular.
Your photos in the Spring issue provide a visual argument for climate change. Are there any other places you’ve traveled that revealed this to you, or was this experience unique?
I visited and photographed New Orleans a year after Hurricane Katrina and The Tennessean ran the photos that showed the devastation and inaction.
What cameras do you use?
I use the Canon EOS 40D, and Canon 5DMark II. I also like the Leica D-Lux 3 and the Canon G10 as pocket cameras.
Considering your access to significant events in US history, was there any one moment when you wished you had had a camera with you?
I’m rarely without one, anywhere.