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International Photographers Unite to Raise Funds to Benefit African Wildlife

International Photographers Unite to Raise Funds to Benefit African Wildlife

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A large group of acclaimed international wildlife photographers and emerging talents have joined forces to raise funds for the people and wildlife in Africa who have all been affected by international tourism closure due to COVID-19 through “Prints for Wildlife.”

The tourism sector in Africa generates significant income to help maintain wildlife parks — which feature many vulnerable species such as elephants, rhinos, lions, and giraffes — with an estimated 24 million Africans dependant on tourism for their livelihood. The disruption in the industry caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions has had a devastating impact on the local people and the conservation across the continent.

To combat the situation photographers Marion Payr and Pie Aerts set up a print fundraiser “Prints for Wildlife” to support people and wildlife in parks managed by partnerships between governments and conservation non-profit African Parks. The initiative held an open call for photographers to enter their work and donate it to the cause, with all money from print sales directly given to African Parks to keep up their work in 19 parks in 11 African countries.

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By Joachim Schmeisser. Soulmates, 2017, Tsavo East National Park, Kenya
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By Tami Walker. Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
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By Brent Stirton. Zakouma, Chad

The foundation protects wildlife, provides law enforcement, supports and invests in communications, and also enacts long-term financing solutions. Since 2020, it has enabled 108,579 people to receive healthcare in and around the parks, built 105 schools, supported 752 scholarships, supported 1,064 park rangers who ensure safe spaces for people and wildlife, employed 3,219 full-time staff, and provided other opportunities and support for the local people and animals.

Each print sold by “Prints for Wildlife” is strictly limited to an edition of 100 copies and costs $100, excluding shipping. The mindful choice of paper — Hahnemühle Natural Line Hemp — also helps to further conserve resources and protect the environment.

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By Pie Aerts. Masai Mara, Kenya
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By Bjorn Persson. Masai Mara, Kenya
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By Clement Wild. Masai Mara, Kenya

This charitable photography-based initiative was first founded in 2020 and had over 120 photographers donating their work to the cause in the first year. The first edition successfully raised $660,200 and encouraged Aerts and Payr to return with a second edition this year. This time, over 170 photographers took part with their unique and scenic photographs of landscape and wildlife, which already helped raise $100,000 on the first day.

The line-up of the participating photographers also includes both founders Payr and Aerts, as well as an award-winning photographer and filmmaker Beverly Joubert, Canon Ambassador Clement Wild, National Geographic photographer Steve Winter, Brent Stirton, recognized by the United Nations for his work on the Environment, and many more who have contributed their work.

The fundraiser runs from 11 July to 11 August 2021 and all the available prints can be found on the “Prints for Wildlife” website.


Image credits: All images provided by “Prints for Wildlife” and used with permission. Header image by Marion Payr.

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An Interview With Mayeul Akpovi: Incredible Time-Lapse Videos of African Cities

An Interview With Mayeul Akpovi: Incredible Time-Lapse Videos of African Cities

It is incredibly important for stories to be told by people who have a lived experience of the situation. Mayeul Akpovi does just this with his incredible time-lapse videos of African cities.

Mayeul, who is based in Cotonou (Benin), saw an evolving, yet underrepresented, African landscape before him. There is no shortage of imagery of wild African safaris in media. What is lacking are images of Africa which include the growing cityscapes, seamlessly melding into majestic mountains and sweeping plains. Mayeul wanted to show this near unknown urban Africa.

The feedback on the works has been encouraging and has even garnered Mayeul some funding to explore other African cities, such as Johannesburg, Kigali, and Lagos. He hopes to expand the project even further to include cities such as Accra, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Dakar, Luanda, Dar es Salaam, Cairo, Algiers, Rabat, Kinshasa or Gaborone (to name a few). It sounds ambitious, but also very needed, and I personally can’t wait to see the project develop further!

Previously colonized countries viewed from a post-colonial lens often get a very specific treatment in media. Often, all that is shown are the effects of war or famine. For Mayeul, this project is a means to change that narrative and show that there are multiple layers of beauty and humanity.

Photography has traditionally been a craft reserved strictly for a very specific group of people. However, recently, we are seeing shifts in social structures, which are allowing for more democratic creative industries.

In plainer terms, the reality is that professional camera equipment has always been expensive and inaccessible for people without the means to buy it. Travel photography, again, was expensive unless you had the right connections with the right magazines who could help fund your travel. Showing your work was, again, only really possible unless you had the right connections with magazines or museums.

Instead, we are now in a time where you can get decent camera kit relatively cheaply. You can create an image and instantly put it online via Instagram, Twitter, or even a personal website. The barrier to entry is lower, which in turn means that standing out is harder because more people are creating more and more images daily.

This means it’s even more important for creatives to create more localized narratives. I know I’m loving some of the things video-streaming services are doing; one minute I’m watching a slow-burn drama from Iceland and the next, a reality tv competition from Spain. We’re more connected than ever, and that’s brilliant!

I digress, though. Africa isn’t a singular country but rather a continent of many countries. Mayeul acknowledges that he isn’t able to speak for an entire continent; the project isn’t about that. There have been struggles with gaining access to some of the cities, whereas others have been very welcoming and supportive of his endeavor.

Continuing with this project, Mayeul hopes to create imagery that shows a uniquely African landscape that integrates progress and tradition. His vision is to eventually collaborate with local creatives so that the spirit of the project continues to show this beauty, but in a way where creatives from a place are the ones telling their own stories and sharing the parts of their countries they themselves have grown with.  

Videos and Images provided by Mayeul Akpovi. Used with Permission.
Interview translated between English and French using Google Translate.

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