Africa's extraordinary wildlife, in black and white
A French photographer shares his duotone fascination with Africa's animals
(Laurent Baheux) Baheux first traveled to Africa in 2002, on assignment for an international sports agency. He was immediately inspired."[Africa] resonated with me like the animal instinct that lies behind each of us," he writes in an email. That passion has since given birth to a number of series. Many of the images featured here, from his Light and Shadow project, will also appear in Baheux's upcoming photo book, The Family Album of Wild Africa, out in November.
(Laurent Baheux)"For me, Africa is a land of light and contrast," Baheux writes. "Black and white is the best way to express the solitary emotion and vitality of wildlife."
(Laurent Baheux) In the 13 years since he first visited Africa, Baheux has traveled to and photographed animals in a host of the continent's countries, including Namibia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and Botswana.
(Laurent Baheux) Due to the unpredictable nature of the animals' behavior, Baheux requires a minimum of four weeks on the ground each time he photographs in a new location. This way, he says, he can ensure that the creatures' daily lives are minimally affected by his presence — and he doesn't have to rush to get his shots."Sometimes, I am lucky because all factors are combined — composition, light, emotion — and sometimes not," Baheux writes. "Most of the time, I must be patient and wait."He learned the value of patience early on in his travels. While shooting in Kenya, Baheux says he once exited his vehicle to get a close-up shot of a hippo bathing in a river. The quick move angered the hippo — which charged at Baheux (he got safely out of the way, he says).
(Laurent Baheux)Still, Baheux says he feels an overwhelming sense of calm amongst Africa's wildlife — more so, even, than with his fellow humans."The rules of wildlife are simple and clear, which is not the case for men," he writes.
(Laurent Baheux) Baheux hopes that his images will remind viewers that everything — animals, humans, even the land itself — is inextricably connected."We need to recover our true nature by relocating ourselves on this planet, being respectful of our environment, and living in harmony with other species — like a big family," he says.
(Laurent Baheux) **See more of Laurent Baheux's work on his website, and follow him on Twitter**