Nature photography in its purest form: those are the works of Marc Slootmaekers you are able to explore at Early Birds Art Gallery. Get ready for a wonderful trip to the Arctic, Eastern Africa and also close to home.
Marc Slootmaekers (°1954) grew up near Kalmthout Heath, one of the oldest and largest nature reserves in Flanders. His grandparents instilled a love of nature in him. That later on influenced his choice of study: he became a Biology teacher. To help illustrate his classes and lectures he took up nature photography in his twenties. The hobby became a passion and steadily grew into a career.
Paradises for the nature photographer: the Arctic and Eastern Africa
Subjects are often found close to home: in the nearby Kalmthout Heath or even his own garden. On a regular basis he departs on travels: alternately to the Arctic and to Eastern-Africa. “Two paradises for a nature photographer”, according to Slootmaekers.
Marc Slootmaekers was the 2001 winner of the ‘Nature’s Best’ photgraphy competition in the U.S.A. and has been a many time finalist for other international nature photography competitions, such as the prestigious BBC-contest ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’.
Knowledge and respect for the subject
The ethical aspect of nature photography is something that Slootmaekers takes very seriously: “The love of nature and knowledge of your subjects are the primary requirements to be a good nature photographer.”
In 1980 Slootmaekers co-founded the ‘Belgian Association for Nature Photography’ alongside photographer Dominique Arnhem. The association’s mission is to promote a nature friendly approach to nature photography, to inform beginning photographers and to instruct publishers on the matter. The ethical code of the BANF states that the knowledge and respect for the subject are of essential importance and that the well-being of the photographed must be more important than the image. In the meantime the association was rechristened to the ‘Association for Responsible Nature Photography’.