Silver, gelatin prints – Tanzania, 2010

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These images were traditionally printed in a darkroom on silver, gelatin paper.  They are the first of many prints to come.  I photographed these animals in Tanzania (Eastern Africa) in parks such as the Serengeti and the Ngorogoro Crater.  On my last day, I was one foot away from the male lion featured in the first two photos.  We were eye to eye.  Yeah, that’s right!  I stared down a lion… while slooowly rolling up my window.

Most people return from trips abroad with souvenirs.  These negatives are my souvenirs.  It was tough getting through customs without being asked to send my film through x-ray machines.  Heathrow and Charles de Gaulle were the absolute worst hubs for this!  It’s no surprise that the great Sebastiao Salgado is now shooting digitally.

I pleaded for airport officials to hand check my film, but was unsuccessful at CDG – my last airport (of eight).  I was devastated… but hopeful!  The film sat in a bag for months after my return.  If it was destroyed, I didn’t want to know.  Finally, I processed my first roll… held my breath… and discovered that all was well!

On a more important note, the lion population is in great danger – six decades ago there were 450,000 lions.  Today there are only 20,000 left.  For more information, check out this 17 minute lecture on Big Cats from Nat Geo filmmakers (stats are at the end).  Before you leave, click on “Follow” or “Like” my Facebook page (on the right) for future, periodic posts.

http://blog.ted.com/2010/12/20/life-lessons-from-big-cats-beverly-dereck-joubert-on-ted-com/

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