Connor Stefanison was born on May 31, 1991 in Burnaby, Canada. He was introduced to the world of photography while indulging his other passion, mountain biking. Since then Connor devoted ample time to better understand the nuances of the craft. And when, less than a year ago, he became the first Canadian to receive the prestigious Eric Hosking Portfolio Award, presented to him in London, he knew he is on the right track. The honour not only granted him instant international recognition but also provided him with motivation to broaden his horizon even further.
Being a student of Zoological Sciences, Connor Stefanison’s deeper understanding of the wildlife seems to positively affect his capability as a photographer. This in turn is reflected on the images captured by him of birds and other animals in their natural habitat, such as the baby American dippers screaming for food or a solitary Agalychnis callidryas peeping from behind two slender branches of a tree.
The scenic landscapes closer home or in other parts of North America do not escape Connor’s keen eyes either. Using his enthusiastic mind and roving camera lenses he keeps on registering the lavish flower bed in Mount Revelstoke National Park, the threadlike streams of Fern Falls or the frozen tunnel in Summer Melt on photographic plates — the ever changing grand canvas of nature fresh and fragrant at one point, eerie silent the next.
Legendary artist Paul Gauguin said, Nature has mysterious infinities and imaginative power. It is always varying the productions it offers to us. The artist himself is one of nature’s means. Even considering all his accomplishments Connor Stefanison’s career as a visual artist has only begun. It will be of infinite interest for all the aficionados of photography to follow his development as a visual storyteller closely and find out for themselves if he has done justice to his natural talent. Encouragingly for him, he will always find inexhaustible sources of inspiration in nature that will never fail him if he continues remaining truthful to it.
Billy Dodson is sitting inside a dry and shallow trough. His eyes are fixed far into the horizon. He has been told that a herd of elephant is on its way to the nearest waterbody. Like a skilled marksman he too is ready with all his arms and ammunition, his camera with an optimal setting. The excitement starts building up in him with every passing minute. But his many journeys into the wilderness have taught him the value of patience. He knows it may take several hours. It could also be a possibility that the herd changes its track and could not even come anywhere near the area where he is waiting to photograph them, in which case it the whole endeavour may turn out to be fruitless. But he takes heart in knowing that Africa has never been a source of disappointment for him. He simply needs to find more ways in exploring the treasures tucked in every nook and corner of the continent.
It is a trip to Tanzania in 2001 that influenced Billy’s course of life in many ways. Not only he visited and revisited the continent many times since to fulfill his passion for photography but also to collaborate actively with many institutions striving to preserve the wealth of African fauna. He is a patron of Giraffe Conservation Foundation. He also regularly donates images both for spreading awareness about the cause and also to help in raising funds for African Wildlife Foundation, the Nature Conservancy and other conservation initiatives. That his art has found a greater purpose beyond being a source of a positive delight for the audience is perhaps his greatest achievement.
Marsel van Oosten used photography as a way of injecting life into the hectic pace that he was living at. With a full time career in advertising with two gold lions at the prestigious International Advertising Festival, Cannes, France, against his name there was little time for him to think of anything else. A trip to Tanzania however changed a lot of things in Marsel’s life. In the close proximity of the wilderness the roar of lions and the laugh of hyenas felt like music to the ears. Life started charting a new route. Five years after this experience Marsel found the charm of his new love to be too overwhelming to ignore. He gladly switched his advertising career with his new identity, the wildlife photographer.
Marsel’s exploits from behind the camera lenses fetched him Nature Photographer of the Year in the International Photography Awards, 2005, 2006 and 2008, 2011, 2012, Nature Photographer’s Network Awards, 2012, European Wildlife Photographer of the Year, 2009 among many other noteworthy achievements. His biggest accomplishment however, was learning to listen closely the whispers of nature and observing into the depths of an animal’s eyes that have ‘the power to speak a great language.’
Born and brought up in Wanaka, New Zealand, Richard’s affection towards visual expressions from behind the lenses of the camera started early. But not until his first voyage with Icebreaker to Antarctic did Richard’s creative passion found an outlet. After his first trip he has gone on to journey from the deep forests of Darien province in Panama to the pristine islands of South Georgia, from Greenland to the arid Namib desert, not to mention the many expeditions he made to both Arctic and Antarctic.