Born in Madrid, Spain, Daniel Beltrá is a photographer based in Seattle, Washington. His passion for conservation is evident in images of the environment that are evocatively poignant. His most striking large-scale photographs are shot from the air, a perspective gives a wider context to beauty and destruction, as well as revealing a delicate sense of scale. After two months of photographing the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill, Beltrá produced many visually arresting images of the man-made disaster, for which he received the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award and the Lucie Award for International Photographer of the Year. His work has taken him to all seven continents.
In what ways does nature inspire or inform your work?
I find my inspiration in the beauty and complexity of nature. Many of my earliest memories are of playing in the ocean surf with my family and of being outdoors with friends in the scouts; this early connection to the outdoors has deepened over the years and grounded me both artistically and spiritually. But as we’ve learned with growing scientific research, our natural ecosystems are incredibly fragile, and this fragility has formed the continuous thread throughout my work on conservation issues around the globe. The aim of my photographs is to show the vast scale of transformation our world is under from human-made stresses, to juxtapose nature with the destruction wrought by unsustainable development. This helps emphasize that the Earth—and its resources—are finite.