Interview with Wildlife Photographer Wim Vorster
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Get to know Wim Vorster, a South African wildlife photographer who is passionate about conserving wildlife and sharing this message with the rest of the world through his photography. Discover how he was attracted to photography and learn about some of the challenges that he has had to face.
How and why did you get into photography?
I had art as a subject in school and really enjoyed drawing and painting to express myself. When I started working as a nature conservation officer and safari guide, I soon realised that I was going to see and experience amazing things in nature that would be impossible for me to realistically draw or paint. It was then when I decided to buy my first camera and lens. The rest is history.
How would you describe your photography style and what is it about your style that makes your photographs different from others?
I don’t really have one specific photographic style as I continuously experiment with different styles in various scenarios. Capturing the moment and giving a true reflection of what I saw through my viewfinder is something I try to master. I feel that eye contact from my subject is also very important when photographing wildlife and always try to photograph from the lowest angle possible. Motion blur and time-lapse photography are two techniques I’m very interested in and love the mood that they create.
Who or what inspires you to do what you do and why?
Working in Mother Nature on a daily basis and seeing amazing creatures functioning in their natural habitat is definitely something that needs to be conserved, but with the growing human population, many areas and its inhabiting species face extinction. By sharing my wildlife images with as many people as possible around the world, I hope to spread the conservation message. The International League of Conservation Photographers is also an organization that is very inspirational and to become part of that elite group of photographers is definitely one of my ambitions.
What is your biggest fear, and can you give an example?
My biggest fear is to be in an awesome wildlife sighting without my camera equipment next to me. It happened to me in 2001 when I started as a safari guide in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa. It was in the month of November, the rainy season, when we left for our afternoon safari drive while it was drizzling. We found fresh cheetah tracks and within 30 minutes we managed to track down the two cheetah brothers. What I didn’t notice while watching the fastest land mammal relaxing on top of a termite mound was the narrow streak of blue sky just above the horizon in the west. Within 10 minutes the late afternoon sun came out and the two beautiful cheetahs were lying on short green grass in the golden afternoon sunlight with dark blue rain clouds behind them, I could see an awesome image in my mind’s eye....but left my camera bag at camp. Never again!
Who are some of your favourite photographers? What makes them special?
Frans Lanting from the Netherlands, he has been hailed as one of the great nature photographers of our time. For more than two decades he has documented wildlife and our relationship with nature in environments from the Amazon to Antarctica. Frans portrays wild creatures as ambassadors for the conservation of complete ecosystems, and his many publications have increased worldwide awareness of endangered ecological treasures in far corners of the earth.
Art Wolfe - over the course of his 30 year career he has worked on every continent and in hundreds of locations. Art’s stunning images interpret and record the world's fast-disappearing wildlife, landscapes and native cultures, and are a lasting inspiration to those who seek to preserve them all. Wolfe’s photographs are recognized throughout the world for their mastery of colour, composition and perspective.
As a fellow South African I am very proud of Thomas P. Peschak, he is a contributing photographer to the National Geographic Magazine and a Fellow of the ILCP. He is also based in South Africa, but leads a near continuous nomadic existence and spends 300 days per year on assignments around the world. Thomas was recently named by Outdoor Photography magazine as one of the 40 most influential nature/environmental photographers in the world.