Document Type

Honors Thesis


Ecology & Environmental Sciences


Michael Grillo

Committee Members

Jacquelyn Gill, Brian Olsen, Jill Pelto, Lindsay Seward

Graduation Year

May 2021

Publication Date

Spring 5-2021


A powerful symbiotic relationship is the one between photography and the field of environmental science. They coexist together in such a way that the progress of one inherently allows for progress in the other. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate and illuminate this specific link. From the earliest cameras, photography was able to capture small details that the eye wasn’t able to see. This ability gave scientists the opportunity to capture images of up-close cells, viruses, certain species, and more. As the popularity of caring for the environment increased, the technologies of science and photography grew alongside. The documentation of climate change, the impacts of pollution, and all the damage humans were causing pushed mass amounts of support towards environmental science. Public awareness made great reason for governmental change. Everyday around us there are consequences of human actions in terms of climate change, but it can be hard to see on a personal level. Photography captures this problem and forces us to acknowledge it. The average person can no longer ignore it because the documentation is right there. Scientists use photography to seize what they are seeing and support their theories. In environmental science alone, photography has provided the field with the ability to visualize detrimental changes in the world, discover new species, and monitor environments. This undeniable link is one which deserves to be further investigated to better understand how it can be harnessed to bring about change.