NWS Client Richard Denyer to Feature in Acclaimed Photography Book Series

Josh Wright

08 Jun 2018

The accomplished photographer’s image will be shown alongside work from Art Wolfe, Michael Poliza and more

During a trip to Northern Kenya in 2014, the British wildlife photographer Margot Raggett was so moved by the tragic and visceral sight of an elephant slain by poachers that she decided to take action. For Raggett, it was this image of a remarkable animal lying dead in the dust that crystallised her desire to fight the insidiousness of poaching, and she soon decided that it was through images which celebrated the life of such creatures that change could be made.

A testament to the power of photography, the Remembering Wildlife series has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds since its first edition, Remembering Elephants, was published in 2016. In partnership with Born Free projects in Kenya, Mali, Malawi, Ethiopia and Zimbabawe, all funds from the series go directly towards the fight against poaching. Such was the success of Remembering Elephants that Remembering Rhinos followed in 2017, while the latest edition, Remembering Great Apes, will go to press this October.

We are very proud to announce that an image shot during an NWS safari will feature in this new book, which comes with a foreword written by famed primatologist Dame Jane Goodall.

Richard Denyer – an NWS client who has embarked on no less than 27 trips with us – captured the image while spending time with a habituated group of mountain gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. Richard will feature alongside some of the most esteemed names in wildlife photography, such as Brent Stirton, Frans Lanting, and Jonathan and Angela Scott, each one a former Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

In addition to giants of the industry who donated their images to Remembering Great Apes, a competition was held for other photographers who wished to contribute their work to the title. Over 1,000 submissions were received, and from this pool only Richard’s image, along with those from nine other photographers, were selected for inclusion. We sat down for a quick Q&A with Richard to talk about his winning shot and wildlife photography in general.

When entering the 'Remembering Great Apes' competition, what made you settle on the gorilla image that you chose?

I felt I had to find images that would please the judges – images that really celebrated great apes – and of course something which I felt would look good in print. After the initial submission process, I had three images selected for the shortlist of 100, of which only one could be selected for inclusion in the final 10. This particular photograph was chosen as it shows a playful pair of gorilla twins alongside their mother, which is a pretty rare sighting.

What unique considerations must be taken into account when photographing great apes, as opposed to other animals?

In terms of the great apes, I find photographing mountain gorillas and chimpanzees the most rewarding, due to the fact that you are on foot as opposed to being in a safari vehicle. We have experience waiting up to eight hours before getting a sighting (for chimps), and once you do you have a maximum of just one hour to take your photos. Lighting, weather and heavy vegetation all impact on your photography, which makes the experience all the more rewarding on your trek back to camp!

All proceeds from 'Remembering Great Apes' will go to great ape conservation projects. What power do you think photography holds for protecting the world’s endangered species?

In being able to see photographs of any wildlife, especially the endangered species, people can see the beauty of a wild animal at ease in its natural environment. By seeing these photographs, many people may become excited by the possibility of travelling to the very same place to see and hopefully photograph these animals for themselves. The significant income generated by such trips will hopefully encourage the governments, local communities and organisations to see the benefit of protecting the environment and its wildlife. The experience of going on safari, and taking your own photographs, is – in our experience – very addictive! If managed correctly, this can only be beneficial to these species.

Out of all the animals you’ve seen across Africa, Asia, Svalbard and the Americas, which is your favourite to photograph?

An impossible question to answer! Each animal or bird can give you a personal memory. No doubt mountain gorillas and chimpanzees give you what I would describe as a life-changing experience, simply because the sensation you get when you actually make eye contact with one of these apes is unforgettable.

Aside from the image that will be featured in 'Remembering Great Apes', do you have any standout images from your time in the wild that are particularly evocative for you, either due to their subject matter or the story behind them?

Yes, many! One image that comes to mind is this photo of a young gorilla obscured by nettles, which was actually taken not long before I shot my image of the gorilla twins. It was almost the first sighting I had, when I sensed that I was actually being watched… so, I looked down, and saw this face peering at me through the nettles – it’ll always be one of my favourites.

As a veteran of 27 expeditions with Natural World Safaris, What is it about our trips that make them so conducive to wildlife photographers such as yourself?

We learnt over the last 10 years of travelling that the careful planning of a safari is so important to the final experience. Being able to discuss your wishes and understand the merits of where to stay, when to travel, and how long to stay at any specific location or lodge is key to the overall experience. The process of developing your ideas with a specialist and tailoring your itinerary to your needs is so important to being in the right place at the right time – and then hopefully capturing that experience with your camera.

Remembering Great Apes will be published on October 15th, 2018. By heading over to the Remembering Wildlife website you can find out more about the book, order your copy, and book your tickets for the launch event at London’s Royal Geographical Society, which takes places on October 18th.

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Comments

Roger Hooker

20/6/2018 11:45 PM

I have always loved photos of animals and birds in their own habitat , matters not if it be jungle, plains, ice and snow or just in our own back yard, but to see the pictures of the great apes by Richard Denyer just puts him above anything else I have seen. The fantastic picture of the mother with her twins quite rightly has been given a top spot. Oh to be a lot younger than my 80 years - and to have the opportunity to try and produce such wonderful natural pictures.

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