Photographer captures human face of endangered species

November 25, 2017 by Olivia Hampton
A new book by British photographer Tim Flach documents some of Earth's most treasured species pushed to the brink of extinction by manmade crises, from pangolins hunted for their scales to Brazil's pied tamarin (pictured) threatened by urbanization

Can you love an animal to death?

A new book by British photographer Tim Flach documents some of Earth's most treasured species pushed to the brink of extinction by manmade crises, from pangolins hunted for their scales to Brazil's pied tamarin threatened by urbanisation.

"Most of the changes in the past have been driven by natural forces, but on this occasion, it seems to be driven by us," Flach told AFP on a visit to Washington.

"My real question is: 'Why am I here doing it? Why am I here taking a picture of the last male white rhino?' It's the question of how we got to that point, rather than simply one of wonderment."

Coral, insects and even some ecosystems are included alongside some of the most recognizable threatened mammals such as polar bears and lesser-known creatures like harlequin toads.

The panda is one of the least vulnerable species found in the more than 150 images of "Endangered," whose release coincides with a new exhibition of Flach's photos in London's Osborne Samuel Gallery.

Flach, known for his highly stylized photographs of dogs and horses, captures the animals' almost human expressions.

A Shoebill looks straight into Tim Flach's camera in this picture part of the book "Endangered"

On the book's cover, a crowned sifaka lemur hugs his knees toward his chest, his bright yellow eyes betraying a worried yet inquisitive look, like a reprimanded schoolboy.

Flach, 59, often uses a black velvet backdrop and his lighting captures colors in such detail that one can almost feel the softness of the lemur's black, orange and white fur.

In the summer, Flach trekked to Russia's Caspian Sea, hiding in a "fly-infested hole" in search of the saiga antelope, an Ice Age survivor that once roamed alongside woolly mammoths but could soon be wiped out by poachers preying on its twisted horns.

Flach could only get a good sighting of the females, so he returned in the dead of winter with the longest lens he could borrow from Canon and got just one shot.

Other encounters during a two-year odyssey included staring the last male white rhinoceros in the eye and swimming with off the Galapagos Islands.

He hopes that others share his passion for wildlife.

"If we care about something, we are more likely to take action," said Flach.

Explore further: CT best at uncovering drug mule payload

Related Stories

CT best at uncovering drug mule payload

December 1, 2010

According to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), the best way to detect cocaine in the body of a human drug courier, known as a mule, is through computed tomography ...

Scientists look to AI for help in peer review

March 22, 2017

Peer review is a cornerstone of the scientific publishing process but could artificial intelligence help with the process? Computer scientists from the University of Bristol have reviewed how state-of-the-art tools from machine ...

US bars sale, trade of white rhino horns

September 10, 2013

The last remaining species of rhinoceros that is not endangered will receive new US protection due to an intensifying poaching crisis, federal wildlife officials said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

NASA's Mars 2020 rover is put to the test

March 20, 2019

In a little more than seven minutes in the early afternoon of Feb. 18, 2021, NASA's Mars 2020 rover will execute about 27,000 actions and calculations as it speeds through the hazardous transition from the edge of space to ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.