Wildlife up close by - | 21st March, 2023 | Playground
Photographer Lars Beusker found his passion taking portraits of wild animals. Nature photography has changed his life.
After 25 years as a fashion and advertising photographer you began taking pictures of wild animals five years ago. What happened?
Those years as a fashion photographer were exciting ones, but eventually I got tired of it. The industry was becoming more and more difficult to navigate and in the end, I lost my passion for photography. In February 2018 I traveled to East Africa for the first time. After years of doing only commercial work, I started taking pictures just for fun and fell in love – with the country, the people, the natural scenery and the animals.
What has changed for you since then?
My life has taken a 180-degree turn. I travel as often as I can but without the pressures of an assignment. I alone decide which animals to photograph, where and when. I feel far more balanced and enjoy my everyday routine, even when I’m not on a photo safari. Each trip into the field is an overwhelming experience that I’m very grateful to have had.
You were named Nature Photographer of the Year at the International Photography Awards in New York last October. What inspires your work? In my portraits, I try to capture the unique nature of animals, to raise awareness for the incredible preciousness of what our earth still holds. My intention isn’t to wag my finger, it’s to show beauty – and awaken the desire to rethink the way we treat the Earth and say: Let’s take care of our planet.
All your animal portraits are shot in black and white. Why?
Colors are something that we’re raised with in Western cultures and they subconsciously influence what we like and consider to be harmonious. When I take them away, all that’s left is the animal’s expression.
Which animal would you like to photograph next?
Polar bears. I haven’t so far encountered one face-to-face. My third attempt will be on an expedition to Spitzbergen this June.