Hunting photography has a strong foundation in the hero shot and the upland community is no exception.
So what is the hero shot? In marketing terms, it is a single picture that glorifies a product or image a company wished to portray. Hunting photography for the most part has been a little looser in its definition as the clear majority of photographic content is from amateur photographers (which there is nothing wrong with). We all wish to celebrate our days afield and remember good times with friends and family.
That translates to an image of us and our upland bounty. But times have changed, and so has the way we display our adventures through hunting photography, although many of us think our culture has been a bit high-jacked by what we believe is a “political correctness” movement. The more accurate depiction is that our culture is finally feeling the effects of modern technology and (I hate to use the word) hipster branding.
This new era in hunting photography is not necessarily a change in “political correctness” but rather a change in ideology. It is new minds approaching an old subject in creative ways. The availability of affordable high quality cameras has fueled that creative playing field. What was once only a tailgate display of upland bird success is now taking on an inspiring and visually stunning angle.
Social media (like Instagram) is now home to upland hunting photography creativity wars. One photo inspires the next, which pushes the bar higher and higher. Close angles glorifying the bird rather than the hunter as we celebrate a tradition that has some of the strongest foundations in conservation. This visual appeal has had some positive reaches on upland hunting culture.
With a huge insurgence of new demographics flocking to upland hunting like women, hipsters, environmentalists, and sustainably conscious people. Many have been introduced through creative platforms over traditional hunting outlets. Often this new hunter mentality comes without the “way things are done” and more with “how can I individualize this experience.” It is a time for celebration as this is exactly what the upland community needed.
We are living in a rival of upland art, fueled by individuals not afraid to reinvent the past. Nothing excites us more than seeing a tradition carried on through creation. Do not get us wrong the old ways of photography and the “hero shot” will always have a home. But it is this change in hunting photography that will drive upland traditions to a new generation. This “branding” conscious approach is what appeals towards none hunters and creates a bridge between misunderstanding.
It is a driving mechanism that needs to be embraced by large upland hunting companies to help deliver not only upland hunting to a new golden age. But by growing our numbers ultimately helping the call to conservation movements. So next time we have a bird in hand, do not be afraid to do it your own way and share with the world and remember to tag #ProjectUpland.