Carlton Ward, Jr. is an environmental photojournalist from Clearwater, Florida, with graduate training in ecology and anthropology. Through his photographs, he aims to promote conservation of natural environments and cultural legacies. At home and abroad, Carlton seeks stories where he can use photographs to make a difference.
Carlton's passion for nature was born from the Florida landscape, where eight generations of family history have grounded his perspective. He sees cultural heritage and the natural environment as two of society's greatest yet most threatened resources.
He regularly produces stories for newspapers and magazines including recent features in Smithsonian, National Wildlife, Africa Geographic, and Outdoor Photographer.
For his first book, The Edge of Africa, Carlton spent eight months in the tropical rain forests of Gabon, documenting the unseen wonders of life at the edge of the African continent. He participated in 5 different multi-taxa bio-diversity research expeditions with the Smithsonian Institution - the most intensive bio-diversity research yet conducted for Gabon. Using custom-made studio and camera techniques, Carlton documented over 400 different species of living plants and animals. Many species he photographed for the first time and several were new to science.
Beyond the value for scientific record, Carlton recognizes the power of photographs to influence public perceptions and inspire change. He seeks pictures that capture the essence of subjects in a way that will engage readers and help carry the science-based messages to broader audiences.
For his most recent international project, Carlton has been photographing endangered desert elephants in the Sahel region of Mali, at the edge of the Sahara near Timbuktu. He is working closely with researchers and conservationists from the WILD Foundation and Save the Elephants to raise awareness for this special herd - the last population of elephants in the Sahel of West Africa. Read more in Notes from the Field.
While at home in the US, Carlton turns his attention toward Florida conservation issues and is beginning a number of long-term projects aimed at celebrating the state's vanishing natural heritage as a tool for protecting it.
In 2004, Carlton founded the Legacy Institute for Nature & Culture (LINC), a non-profit organization for conservation communications. LINC's mission is to raise awareness for natural environments and cultural legacies, educate about important connections between human societies and natural ecosystems, and promote conservation of natural heritage.