Featured Rewildologist: Joshua Asel
Hi, Joshua! Thanks so much for sitting down with the Rewildology community today. Tell us, what do you do?
I wear a lot of hats in order to make the most impact that I can see possible. First and foremost, I’m a wildlife and conservation photographer that uses visual imagery to help spread awareness through national and international publications. I work internationally, with a particular focus on coastal and marine environments. That said, I’ve been concentrating my most recent work on California condors and birds of prey within arid biomes. But I’m also on the Board of Directors for the Sonoma County Bird Rescue Center to help injured birds of all sorts. And I founded the Wildlife Conservation Fellowship to help create or expand nature preserves.
Wow, you do wear many hats to create the most impact. How did all of this come to be for you?
Whew, that’s a long answer! Though, there was a magnificent defining point that flipped my whole life in a good way.
Sometimes, my life plays out completely differently from what I thought was set in stone. Since I can actually remember, I trained as a fine artist and I showed incredible promise, so I thought that’s what I was supposed to do. Then one day when I was 24, I picked up a camera to try to photograph wildlife for the heck of it. I photographed the first thing I saw, which was a dove flying by, and I felt what I can only describe as the rush of destiny. I knew instantly, in that very moment, this is what I was born to do. This is what God put me on this Earth for. I dropped out of college the next day and started my pursuit of using photography to help wildlife. I knew I would have to work my ass off to catch up to the already upcoming and established wildlife and conservation photographers.
Since that day just over a decade ago, insurmountable obstacles that I thought I’d never cross have been cleared. And they don’t stop, but I have gotten more used to them. For the most part, I always was attracted to the ocean, birds of prey, and large carnivores like wildcats. My overall love for wildlife keeps me wanting to challenge what I believe isn’t possible in order to form more complete ecosystems globally and spread goodness.
Talk about a moment of destiny! That’s an incredible story. What advice would you like to give the Rewildology community?
Chase what you love and don’t give up on it. It’s so much easier to put work into the things that you are the most interested in, and your passion and hard work will be reflected in the eyes of like-minded people who will want to support you. It’s no coincidence that what you’re most talented at is what you love to do the most. Then set impossible goals and chase them with hard work and the eyes of a dreamer. The bigger you dream, the further you will go. Clarity of vision comes when you want to change the world for the better.
Thank you so much for your time, Joshua!
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