John Marriott’s passion for the environment and those who live there was sparked when the then six-year-old went on his first fishing trip to Scotch Creek.
“That’s where I first started to fall in love with wildlife,” says the photographer who is actively advocating for animals that are being treated inhumanely and do not have a voice of their own. “It was all shaped there in the Shuswap.”
It is a love and concern for wildlife that continued to grow in the wildlife photographer who now calls Canmore, Alta. home and, since November, is a fellow in The International League of Conservation Photographers, a U.S. based non-profit organization whose mission is to further environmental and cultural conservation through ethical photography.
“It is the most prestigious group you can belong to as a wildlife photographer and it has been one of my goals, at least in the past 10 years, to become an associate,” says Marriott.
According to the organization’s website, acceptance in the group is granted to individuals who have a proven commitment to conservation action, superior photographic skills and the highest ethical standards.
“I have always been extremely concerned about how wildlife is managed in B.C. and, as far back as Grade 10 in Salmon Arm, one of my essays was “Wolf Conservation in B.C.,” says the author of several highly esteemed wildlife photography books who has now established a blog to voice his concerns. “It has been a long-brewing thing in the back of the mind and ‘Exposed’ is just the vehicle that has allowed me to give a voice to wildlife, raise concerns and educate people.”
Marriott describes Exposed, a documentary web series, as a slowly growing movement that is in its infancy but is growing very rapidly.
“There are two episodes now that have had more than 200,000 viewers,” he says with pride, pointing out a television show is considered to be a success when it has 100,000 viewers. “It’s quickly growing out of its infancy and becoming a real brand in the environmental movement.”
One of his biggest projects at the moment is campaigning for new trapping and hunting regulations, most of which have not changed since the 1930s.
The current episode of Exposed, “Choking to Death: Killing Canada’s Wolves With Neck Snares,” shows the horrific pain the snares inflict on wildlife.
“There are other ways to trap if they need to do so. Snares are not humane, they’re cruel and they’re outdated,” Marriott says. “The only meaningful update Canada has done in the last 100 years is to ban steel-jawed leg hold traps.”
The talented photographer has just wrapped up a five-year project following a B.C. wolf pack but will not share the location for fear hunters and trappers will go there.
Another five-year project Marriott is about to embark on is on big cats in Canada – bobcats, cougars and lynx.
“In Salmon Arm you see deer and moose, but very few people realize they are around,” he says, pointing out he wants to photograph the big cats to educate people about the mysterious animals. “Part of what enthralled me is that they are all creatures that are tough to find. There’s a lot of secrecy about them and a lot that isn’t generally known.”
To see more of Marriott’s work, including his Exposed series of videos, visit exposedwithjohnemarriott.com.