ASSIGNMENT SUMMARY – DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
The DRC is as raw as it gets for a photographer. It was some effort to get here, but when you arrive and no other cameramen were within miles of me those days or even next week – well that was rather exciting.
There was a long steep climb on some days, but ultimately it was always rewarding. Congo is not for the faint of heart – this male gorilla (see above) lost his left hand several years ago as a result of illegal hunting traps. But conservation in the DRC is improving markedly – and the number of East Lowland Gorillas is rising.
That evening I was sat, looking over this picture in a bar in Bukavu and I admit to being a little tearful. What have we done and why?
Part of my assignment was spent in Rwanda. It is a very special country – what a recovery from 23 years ago. 800,000 deaths and all I saw in my 10 hour drive to the DRC border was happiness, family values, manners and work ethic. It is a spectacular place – especially on a that misty Wednesday morning (see below)! President Kagame may have his critics – presidents do – but he could teach a few things to the novices in that profession! What a job he has done!!
A big thank you has to go to John Kahekwa and his team of rangers and trackers in the Congo! John won the Prince William Award for conservation in Africa in 2016 for his work with Eastern Lowland Gorillas and he was my man on the ground. The silverbacks were huge and I came about as close as I dare – it wasn’t a normal day in the office!
The final photograph was the highlight of my week in the DRC. Nothing like photographing a gorilla with a 24m wide angle lens. Committed to the approach no matter the odd moments of slightly raised heart beat. Thank you to my whole team who kept me safe over the week!