The concept of Photography4life was 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, the world stopped. The 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 dedicated to preserving wildlife. A window into their lives and aspirations, as well as a platform for their messages to the outside world. In doing so I hope it increases insight and awareness into the challenges they face on a daily basis. I believe photojournalism will trigger many of you to contribute towards theoretical and practical educational courses for the Rangers. This will further empower their lives, families and communities. The aim is to influence the mind set of those who would turn to poaching as a quick source of income. They will quickly benefit from a more promising, sustainable form of living and 'life improvement,' which 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.
The elephants, the Ranger Commander who crouched close beside me, and the prehistoric landscape surrounding us, stirred me. The whole picture reflected the crucial balance needed for its continued survival of nature and its eco-system - the definitive ingredient being Man. The involvement and enthusiasm of the wildlife rangers signified a growing understanding tolerance by local communities towards their wildlife and conservation work.
Whilst pinned to the ground, breathing in dust we chuckled softly. I was instantly drawn to writing the rangers’ stories. Their aspirations, real life and challenges, both private and in their capacity as guardians of Africa's wildlife. True untold stories shared would carry their voices to the outside world, igniting the compassion and imagination of their readers. Bolstering 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 yearned to utilize my experienced and knowledge in Africa, combined with a passion for my homeland, its people and wildlife . In doing so I wanted to create a platform that complimented & promoted responsible conservation organizations. Specifically those dedicated to promoting community development alongside their wildlife preservation efforts. Photography4Life aims 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 frequently featured efforts concerning Anti-Poaching Ranger operations. We are particularly interested in promoting long term organizations, both large and small.
Emphasis is in helping organizations that actively promote community development alongside wildlife preservation. 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 the initial trial period when the 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 our friendship and trust progressed, an opportunity presented itself in launching Photography4Life.
Sourcing sponsorships through photography, articles and fundraising campaigns, it was possible to finance specialized courses for Rangers. We wish to expand these opportunities to the Rangers families and community members who show respect for wildlife and a commitment to conservation.
This will also compliment the great and vital work many organizations are doing on the ground.
Details on how you can donate, both personally and through your business/company (as tax deductible contributions) will be indicated on our page for donations. Coming up soon will be a shopping cart 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