The concept of Photography4life formulated on a blistering sunny day whilst I crouched low in volcanic dust, watching elephants saunter pass me towards a watering hole. Towering above, they filled my view and my consciousness. The world stopped and the anti-Poaching Ranger and I breathed quietly as these giants walked slowly past, blocking out the rays of the sun with their massive frames. Suddenly, with great clarity, I knew that moments such as these needed to be shared. Coverage and insight into the brave men & women dedicat- ed to preserving wildlife. A window into their lives and aspirations, as well as a platform for their messages to the outside world. And in doing so I hope it increases insight and awareness into what they do and the challenges they face. I hope this photojournalism triggers many of you to contribute towards funding theoretical and practical educational courses for them - further empowering their lives, their siblings, and surrounding communities. I believe this will also influence the mind set of those who normally turn to poaching as a quick source of income - who will see that a more promising and sustainable form of living and 'life improvement' exists in protecting their wildlife. Be it as a ranger or a valuable member of the community, taking advantage of new found skills produces a positive and self-sustainable lifestyle.
Collectively the elephants, the Ranger Commander crouched close beside me, and the prehistoric landscape surrounding us, inspired me. Jointly it reflected the crucial balance needed for its continued survival, the definitive ingredient being Man! The involvement and enthusiasm of the wildlife rangers signified a growing tolerance & understanding by local communities towards their wildlife work.
As the two of us chuckled softly breathing in dust, whilst pinned to the ground, I was instinctively drawn to write the rangers’ stories. Their aspirations, real life and challenges, both private and in their capacity as guardians of Africa's wildlife. True, yet untold stories, which if shared would carry their voices to the outside world And in doing so, hopefully ignite the compassion and imagination of their listeners. Boiltering true conservation.
With skills in wildlife safari guiding, camp management, safari operations and experience in photo-journalism for many life-changing establishments such African Wildlife Foundation, Uganda Wildlife Foundation, and the UN - I took the baton.
I burned to utilize my work history and knowledge in Africa, combined with my passion for my home- land, its people and wildlife to create a platform that complimented & promoted responsible conservation organisations. Those specifically dedicated to promoting com- munity development alongside their extensive wildlife efforts and operations. Photography4Life is here to enhance their efforts by providing two exceptionally important ingredients in successful conservation.
To date assignments have covered Tanzania extensively, Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan.
We have been linked to and featured a lot concerning Anti-Poaching, Ranger Operations, which we are particularly interested in covering for committed organizations both large and small.
Emphasis is in helping organizations that actively promote community development alongside wildlife preservation because, it is our earnest belief that the survival of Africa's fragile natural heritage is directly linked to increased co-operation, growth and opportunities for local communities. Bonding the two irrevocably together for lasting, mutual benefit.
Since launching in 2007 our natural progression has led to a growing presence in social media - and consequently we shall be sharing exciting new developments shortly.
After an initial trial period when the first rangers tested my resilience and bush sense - I got to really know them and formed close bonds with these unique guardians of wildlife.
Then as I personally got to know the Rangers, and their hopes and difficulties I saw an opportunity in which Photography4Life could contribute even more.
Sourcing sponsorships (through photography, articles and fundraising campaigns) for specialized courses for rangers and reliable education for their siblings had the capacity to empower lives. Also it compliments the great, and vital work these organizations are doing on the ground. It was a 'Win-Win' situation.
Details on ways you can donate, both personally and through your business/company (as tax deductible contributions) will be added shortly with a shopping cart also, for some great items being sold to raise funds. In the meantime please contact us directly for further details.
Colleen and Photography4life has been very generous with her time and photographic skills. Colleen took on a number of assignments for both Honeyguide Organization and Big Life Foundation. She took some great photos of all the Big Life rangers field operations in Tanzania, which involved Coll going and living with the rangers for specific periods at a time, travelling from Ranger Post to Ranger Post, going on night patrols, foot patrols and everything else the rangers did on duty. Colleen built up a great rapport and trust with the rangers and delivered some stunning photographs.
The Enduimet WMA (Wildlife Management Area) committee asked Colleen for help to build their official website, and partnering with Honeyguide, Colleen developed a stunning website that showed the beauty of the community, wildlife and landscape. Colleen is a very dedicated conservationist and a natural in the field. We cannot thank her enough for what she did for the communities and their conservation efforts.
Damian Bell - Executive Director, Honeyguide Organization