Photojournalism uniting Wildlife Conservation & Community Development in Africa
The concept of Photography4life initially formed on a blistering sunny day, whilst I was crouched low eating volcanic dust as elephants sauntered pass me towards a watering hole. Towering above, they filled my vision and the world seemed to stop. My Ranger companion and I breathed lightly as the giants walked past, blocking the rays of the sun with their massive frames.
How could I not share such astounding moments with the outside world, the likes of which were made possible whilst providing coverage of the brave Wildlife Rangers who protected these magnificent animals.
This, amongst so many other incredible experiences and some heart-breaking moments were the ‘windows’ into their extraordinary lives. I have gained immense insight into their challenges and aspirations, and in writing about them I help heighten global awareness as vividly as possible.
A platform for their voices.
Elephants and prehistoric landscape surrounded us as we lay crouched low. A delicate balance of nature’s eco-system millions of years old. It brought home its fragility in the hands of modern man, yet, these Wildlife Rangers signified new hope and tolerance by local communities towards wildlife and nature.
Whilst pinned to the ground breathing in dust, the Rangers and I chuckled nervously. The moment triggering an epiphany to share such moments with the outside world. Inside stories rarely heard, about extraordinary people committed to guarding Africa’s extraordinary flora and fauna.
Had Damian Bell (of Honeyguide and BigLife Foundation, Tanzania) not invited me to photograph conservation efforts within the Amboseli/Kilimanjaro eco-system this idea would never have materialised.
3rd generation Kenya born, with skills in wildlife safari guiding and photojournalism provided me a footing, but none of this compared to the experience, personal growth and insight I gained through this remarkable attachment.
With Damian’s encouragement, I spent time out on manoeuvres with the Rangers on active assignments. I was put through my paces, camped under the shade of some trees, relatively close to the Rangers camp, and whenever I was free, I would download photographs. Often to the crackle and light of my campfire and the company of an inquisitive genet cat, numerous giraffe and elephant who tiptoed soundlessly through my 'One Man Camp!' Sometimes the Rangers would join me round the fire, but often it was to hurriedly grab me for an unscheduled operation.
This could easily sound sentimental, but it is far from that. The challenges and dangers facing Wildlife Rangers across Africa to a large extent outweigh the rewards. There is still so much action to covered in conservation, including the lives of the men and women involved - be it government run, or privately run projects on ranches or wildlife management areas (WMA).
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
We love to hear from people across the world, who appreciate the work of Wildlife Rangers, or have an interest in Africa, with further incentives to help individuals and communities who support their natural heritage - across East Africa.
Uk base - Peebles, Scotland.
Tanzania - Arusha.
Kenya - Nairobi.
Full Contact details available on request.