Pie Aerts (@pie_aerts) is a Dutch documentary and wildlife photographer and environmentalist with a sincere interest in human/wildlife coexistence stories. Through his lens, he examines the intricate relationship between animals, humans and nature and, as we become increasingly distant from each other and ourselves, he uses photography as a medium to search for the cause of this disconnect.
Pie is an official Canon EMEA Ambassador and Founder of Prints for Wildlife, a fundraising platform that supports African wildlife & communities badly hit by Covid-19. Since its inception in 2020 more than $2.1 million dollars has been raised by uniting 230+ wildlife photographers from around the world and selling their art on an online platform, sending 100% of the proceeds to African Parks Network.
After more than 15 years of fieldwork all across the African continent and beyond, as a photographer as well as an activist, Pie has developed an intricate understanding of, connection with and passion for documenting the last wild corners of our planet. His travels have taken him around the entire planet, documenting unique stories with a strong focus on the intersection between wildlife and humans.
When the world came to an abrupt stop in March 2020, Pie decided to exclusively shift his focus to the African continent to document the impact Covid19 was having on wildlife and communities. In the absence of the usual herds of tourists, but with wildlife in full effect, he felt a deeper connection with Africa than ever before. Silence never felt so confusing, fearful, and liberating all at the same time and in that particular space of not knowing what’s ahead of us, ‘Umoja’ was born, a new body of work that became Pie’s way of dealing with the uncertainty of living in between an old world that was falling apart and a new one that has not emerged yet.
“As a photographer, I feel the urge more than ever to be the voice of our planet. We live in a world that is rapidly individualising and, as a result, we care about ourselves and our own struggle for survival more than ever. In fact, we are losing connection, both with each other and with the planet we live on – that’s a very dangerous thing, because people stop caring. I hope that my images contribute to making a change and encourage people to care again; that they make people fall in love again with their surroundings and with each other. Because if you love something, you’re willing to fight for it, whether it’s a landscape, an animal or your neighbours. And that’s what our planet needs.”
Pie will be heading to Svalbard in June 2024, and you can join him! He will be on hand throughout the trip, providing expert advice that will help you capture the perfect shot.
Pie believes the soothing and healing power of art can be an incredibly powerful tool in restoring our lost connections. His first best-selling book 'Tales from the Roads less Traveled' was published by teNeues in 2019 and sold 8000 copies worldwide. He is based in Amsterdam where he lives together with his girlfriend and writer Jessica Wintz and their daughter.