Ever since my mother gave me two Greek tortoises as a gift on my fifth birthday, my interest in turtles had been sparked.
About the photographer
Etched eternally on my mind is my first encounter with a sea turtle – that was in the Gulf of Aqaba, in 1963. Equally unforgettable is the horrendous image of slaughtered sea turtles on the beach of Kenya! This shocking experience led me to invest part of my work, time and money into the protection of these docile animals. Nobody was aware of the tremendous threat to sea turtles at the time – therefore the turtles had no lobby at all.
My profession as a photographer and my relationship with the international media proved very helpful in this case. Innumerable stories about the suffering inflicted on these ancient reptiles triggered an international response, eventually prompting a torrent of outrage. Around the world, many turtles were thus spared a brutal death – world-wide protection, however, has not been pronounced even to-date, which is why I continue to go on picture safaris for my »SOS-Seaturtles« charity (www.sos-seaturtles.ch).
My images not only show the illegal poachers, but first and foremost the animals living in the wild. Photo stories of turtles, be they a work of art or shocking images, still arouse the interest of a large readership. Little has changed even about the exposure technique. Patience and perseverance are needed, and one has to be familiar with the animals’ behavior, in addition to being in the right place at the right time for that final »shot«.
Respect of the living creature is always vital! Taking pictures of turtles does not necessarily conjure up images of action, but even here, selecting the right equipment is the be-all and end-all: from the Rolleiflex to the Hasselblad and all Nikon-F models, my equipment case contains in addition to accessories a digital Nikon DX-2 and D-300 camera, all of which are protected exclusively by Seacam housings.