The best isn’t always beautiful. This photographer shows us why
At the age of five, Peter Chadwick had already learned the lessons that would determine the course of his life. Sitting atop the hills of Zimbabwe, observing herds of rhino, buffalo and antelope in their natural habitat, he realised that the planet and its creatures were deserving of unending respect, and that it was up to every individual to play their part. Today, the photojournalist uses his skills to capture the beauty of the African continent and contribute to ensuring its preservation.
“I never doubted I would be a conservationist,” Chadwick says. With his camera by his side and over 30 years of experience, he captures not only our country’s incredible wildlife, but also the people working behind the scenes to protect it in the midst of a poaching crisis. His work has enabled him to help and learn from those committed to the cause. “It’s about getting to know people,” he says. “It’s about getting to know and understand humanity.” Chadwick encourages everyone to do more than the bare minimum – not just for the environment and wildlife but also for each other.
While Chadwick never studied photography, his father’s photos – created in a time of negatives and darkrooms – influenced his pursuit of the profession. “What a privilege to have parents who really believed in my passion,” he says. “It’s grown into a lifelong dream that I’m still living.” The self-taught photographer now travels across Africa to showcase what he captures as well as give presentations on the work he does for conservation. He is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and has won a wide range of international awards. Chadwick believes that the most powerful images are not necessarily the most beautiful. Sometimes it’s the horrific and shocking that enables us to recognise the disconnect between ourselves and nature which has led to its decline. By documenting the full spectrum of the impact of our influence on wildlife and nature, Chadwick is honouring the beauty of what he captures and urging others to work towards conserving our natural wealth.