Conserving nature, one shot at a time

Woodstock photographer Marius Coetzee was one of the speakers at this years Wildshots conference held at the V&A Waterfront on Saturday September 23.

Woodstock photographer Marius Coetzee sets up his camera among the desert dunes in Namibia and tries to blend into the natural surroundings while capturing the arid landscape and wildlife before him.

His day job as a nature photographer conducting photographic safaris is one many nature lovers would envy, but Mr Coetzee is one of the lucky few who managed to combine his love of nature, photographic talent and his passion for wildlife conservation into a living.

His ability to capture nature in its purest form has won him many awards and landed him a spot among the speakers of this year’s Wild Shots Wildlife Photography Conference at the V&A Waterfront, on Saturday September 23.

The conference played host to 11 guest speakers from four different countries, who exhibited their work and spoke about the images they captured around the world.

Mr Coetzee’s images captured in Africa and Antarctica and India have appeared in many publications, including BBC Wildlife. They were also displayed at the conference, while he spoke about the adventures he has been on and the work he has done over the past 17 years.

“It was my love for nature that drew me into the wild. I was based in the world-renowned Sabi Sands Game Reserve, bordering Kruger National Park, for more than six years. It was here that I began to document the wildlife that I observed on a daily basis,

“Photography soon became less about documenting and evolved into a creative avenue to portray my subjects in a more meaningful way. Creating awareness and educating the public through sharing imagery is a way photographers assist in conservation. Eco-tourism, in our case photographic safaris, creates a reason to conserve wildlife for everyone’s benefit,” said Mr Coetzee.

After working for Sabi Sands, Mr Coetzee co-founded his own photographic expeditions company in 2011 and has travelled around the globe with his guests.

“I thrived in translating this passion of mine into a form where my guests left their safari with the same respect and love I had for the African bush and its creatures. I then realised the influence all of us in the industry have on conveying the importance of our natural heritage to the broader public and consequently, promoting the conservation of our planet’s wildlife.

“Creating awareness and educating the public through sharing imagery is a way photographers assist in conservation. People have an innate need to travel and experience new destinations and each photo tour, is as inspiring as the last,” said Mr Coetzee.

Mr Coetzee’s most recent expedition involved spending a number of weeks on safari in Namibia over the past two months to photograph desert-adapted wildlife and arid landscapes, which he said had been an adventure to remember.

To find out more about the Wildshot conference visit www.wildshotsevent.com