Merk argiewe: ekosisteme

Wildlife photographer raises urgent funds to protect Africa’s ecosystems

Wildlife photographer raises urgent funds to protect Africa’s ecosystems
Drew Doggett has collaborated with charity Space for Giants to inspire people to do good by giving hope this festive season

Acclaimed American photographer and storyteller Drew Doggett is helping create Space for Hope this festive season by raising critical awareness and funds for Space for Giants, a conservation charity.

For each donation made to the campaign, Space for Giants will send donors a digital copy of Drew’s extraordinary Mighty Tusker image as a thank you and to act as a reminder of the impact we can have when we work together.

The funds will help prevent human-elephant conflict in Kenya. As elephants and humans coexist in ever more constrained spaces, the need for human-elephant coexistence is only intensifying. By constructing electric fences along important conservation areas, the charity is not only creating safe spaces for farmers, but for elephants too.

Drew’s arresting elephant image, called Mighty Tusker, features one of the planet’s largest remaining tusked elephants under the epic backdrop of Kilimanjaro.

Here Drew tells Die Onafhanklike how he captured the incredible photo:

What inspired you to become a photographer and storyteller?

It was a personal revelation when I realised that I could combine my love of travel, exploration, all things wild, and learning about new cultures into a careerthat of photography.

After my first expedition to the Himalayas to visit the secluded Humla people, I was hooked. From that point on I knew that I would dedicate my life to telling stories through my photography and films. I feel a responsibility to my subjects which drives me to keep going; it’s a huge privilege to get to do this work.

Can you give us some background to your work and how it all began?

My initial interest in the medium of photography came at a young age. My father was an architect and hobbyist photographer, which is what sparked my love of the camera. By high school, I had discovered photography’s energising capabilities, whether in the darkroom or out in the world.

My first exposure to the realm of professional photography was assisting local portrait photographers during university and then after graduation in fashion in New York City. For six years I assisted top fashion photographers which gave me the technical knowledge and know-how I needed for my own practice.

My trip to the Himalayasmy first of my own artistic accordturned out to be the exact solution my creative spirit was craving. I have been traveling the world in search of the most extraordinary subjects since then.

What are the landscapes that you picture when you think about the most special spaces in your life?

I could probably spend a lifetime in Africa. From the diversity of the wild animals there to the warmth of the people I’ve been so lucky to meet, I can’t think of a place closer to my heart. Some of my favorite recent memories include photographing the Ilkisisusiu pride of 20 or so lions in the Naboisho Conservancy bordering the Mara, or trekking into the Virungas for mountain gorillas. I also have been lucky enough to spend time with the incredibly welcoming Rendille people near the Chalbi desert in Kenya. What made each of these expeditions so special to me was the raw, untouched environments and the relationships each of these subjects had with our Earth; they work within Mother Nature’s rhythms, not against them.

Sable Island is also a place that is very special to me. This small strip of 13 square miles nestled in the Atlantic is only a home to a resilient and miraculous breed of all wild horses that I have been lucky enough to document over the last decade. I have created an entire body of work dedicated to their existence, as well as an award-winning short film and a recently released book titled “Wild: The Legendary Horses of Sable Island” with a foreword by my hero Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE.

Can you tell us a bit about the photo that appears in the campaign?

This photo captures two of the most powerful occupants of Amboseli and the surrounding areas; a super tusk elephantCraigand Kilimanjaro. Super tusk elephants were, until recently, believed to have been totally wiped out of existence. With tusks weighing 100 lbs each, these animals are nothing short of incredible. Elephants are, in my humble opinion, already some of the most amazing creatures on the African plains, but super tuskers have this incredible, unique presence among all the animals; you can see that in the way the other bulls desire to be around them at all times.

I had several images I had dreamt of creating during this trip, but as any photographer of wild animals knows, you can’t do much more than set yourself up for the shot you want to take and hope that mother nature delivers. Egter, on this trip, I couldn’t have asked for more. By working with local Maasai, I was able to have multiple days with Tim & Craig, the largest recorded tuskers at the time. Craig, who is pictured in this image, is now believed to be one of the largest after Tim’s passing. It was an honour to create these images.

How do you hope your images will inspire people to protect our natural world? Do you agree that photography is a powerful way to to raise awareness about important issues such as wildlife conservationif so, hoekom?

I love this quote by Baba Dioum, the Senegalese environmentalist: “In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.”

His words are an ethos I try to embody when I create my work. Byvoorbeeld, to me, Craig is the face of all we have to lose if we don’t act to protect the incredible biodiversity of the national parks in Kenya and throughout Africa – en, realistically, the world. Images of Craigand photography as a mediumhave this immense power to act not just as art, but also as a document of our time.

I aim to mix photography’s artistic and documentary power together to share the extraordinary parts of our world with anyone who wants to take a moment to look. It’s in these moments of seeing that we have an opportunity to help foster an appreciation and understanding of our natural world and all of its inhabitants within others. I hope these images inspire viewers to help us protect what is wild and free.

What inspired you to work with Space for Giants?

Our voices will always be stronger and more powerful together, which is why I am thrilled to be working with Space for Giants and the rest of their incredible collaborators. I have been lucky enough to travel extensively throughout Africa, spending time with both the people and within the incredible natural parks. There is such a connection between the welfare of the communities, klimaatverandering, and Africa’s immensely important biodiversity, and Space for Giants does a terrific job of amplifying the voices of all of these interconnected elements as one cohesive cause that requires our undivided attention.

I am incredibly excited to be using my work to help bring awareness to our shared interests in protecting wild creatures and their surrounding communities.

Are you hopeful for our futureif so, hoekom?

I am definitely hopeful for our future. Technology is allowing us to raise awareness and drive change at a never-before-possible pace, which is incredibly exciting. I think that there is so much power in using art as a vehicle for awareness, especially when it comes to reaching new audiences, and I am beyond excited to see what can happen when we all work together. Ook, there is also so much hope, passion, and inspiration in the younger generations and their voices are growing louder and louder. I am beyond excited to see what we can accomplish as one.

For more information about the Space for Hope campaign click hier