With family roots in French Alps and Vosges, I have always been attracted by cold weather, snow and wilderness. After many years of ski and climbing, but also first photographs experiences near Chamonix and then in Himalaya, I decided to change of horizon as commercial exploitation of mountain and mass tourism was growing in these regions.
I first headed to Alaska and Yukon Territory where I found in these endless spaces exactly what I was looking for with on top of that, one of the most spectacular show given by nature: the northern lights. I also had there the opportunity to learn dog mushing, with local professionals involved in Iditarod and Yukon Quest famous races: Tony Andreone at Fairbanks, Alaska, and the Cathers Family at Lake Laberge near Whitehorse, Yukon Territories,
Light in these boreal regions is very special as being much lower on the horizon compared to our latitudes. This phenomenon creates special opportunities for landscape photography. Besides, these remote lands shelter exceptional wildlife offering great challenges for Photographers.
Therefore, after an experience with Polar Bears photography in Churchill, Canada, (which was much less known at that time …) thanks to Remy Marion (French Bear Specialist) and Olivier Grunewald (French Nature Photographer) who shared with me their valuable expert advises, I started to organize my own trips (self-sponsored) and expeditions targeting wildlife photography.
I have chosen to photograph High Canadian Arctic thanks to Inuit People help and particularly Charlie Noah and Mosha, my Guides from Grise Fiord (Ellesmere Island) and I also travelled in Kamtchatka, Siberia, with the support of my Russian Guide Sergey Petrov from Ust-Kamtchask and also the strong support of the Volcanologists of Petropavlovsk Institute.
From this time, my trips being more and more complex to organize due to the remoteness of the visited regions, to the choice of the subject to be photographed, to the difficulties to find reliable local supports, the time I allocated to this activity began to be too short as I still had a full time job as Engineer in France. Therefore, I decided to reduce to part time my “regular” job in the industry in order to have better preparation for my trips and live more quietly these adventures.
More recently, I had the opportunity to experience scuba diving and underwater photography in the Mediterranean Sea near Marseille with Aqua Evasion and Marc Debatty followed, few weeks later, thanks to Rémy Marion and Arctic Kingdom (Canadian Arctic Expeditions Operator) by close encounters with Sea Mammals (Narwhals) in the Arctic Ocean (Lancaster Sound, Nunavut, Canada).
I often meet during my trips, People strongly involved in nature protection. For instance in Far East Russia, I could see by myself, on-going programs and achievements realised by local NGO named Phoenix Fund and based in Vladivostok. With their support, I could organize a trip to Khabarovsk region and Primorye aiming to photograph various aspects of local Wildlife preservation and particularly of such endangered species as Amur Tiger and Himalaya Bears (Collar Bears).
During my trips, I often remarked that my local Guides, on top of their job to help me to find the animals, take care to explain their land, their culture and traditions, hoping that I could transmit their words through my pictures and travels diaries. Wishing to do so and communicate this message to People also attracted by these regions and wishing as well to share my experience as traveller and photographer, I am now thinking to elaborate customized nature trips for People interested in such destinations and unexpected adventures.
Travel and Photography: an urgent necessity.
Travelling in some of the most remote places on the Planet, gives you the opportunity to meet People from different origins, with different occupations and original histories. It makes you realize that other lives are possible, very far from the uniformity of industrialized countries. It makes you discover diversity, adventure and harmony with wilderness.
This is exactly at the opposite of so-called modern life, so regular, predictable, protected and so far from nature that we do not care anymore about the season cycle, we do not remark anymore that sun positions change with each season, we do not pay any attention to nature's phenomenon.
No more links with elements. No more links with nature.
I have been so astonished how deep an impact seasons have on Inuit People lives, particularly for hunting. I have also been surprised by their ability to live, not survive, but really live as part of their environment. Inuit People have made a cleaver adaptation of modernity to their traditional life. Efficient snow machines today replace dog sleds for hunting so that nobody in the community dies of starvation anymore. But, my Inuit Guide was also able to quickly set up a comfortable camp with beds made of traditional caribous skins and to prepare a dinner with fresh Arctic Char fish just caught from a hole in the ice. These People take from nature exactly what they need, not more for commercial use or to make profit.
Wildlife photography gives the opportunity to see and testify for the others that untouched spaces, stoning landscapes, unexpected lights, animal diversity and traditional lifestyle still exist on the Planet.
But unfortunately not for long at the rhythm that things are going: maybe only for a few tens of years.
As People in industrialized countries are trapped in the rush of modern life mostly ruled by money and as mass media talks about everything spectacular but not about this silent emergency, wildlife photography is among the last chances for nature and for men. Wildlife photographers are