Laurent Baheux, artist photographer and ambassador of the wildlife
We know Laurent Baheux for the amazing beauty of its black and white works. Facing the wild animal captured by his objective, we rediscover the natural esthetics of the planet. Beyond the first visual shock, the artist helps us understand, without violence, how much the frantic human activity endanger life on Earth, all the lives on Earth.
At first sports journalist, Laurent chose to dedicate to the photography twenty years ago. Of his debuts in analogue black and white, he learnt to play with lights and contrasts to share the truth of his models.
He explains this choice “I feel that the monochrome facilitates the perception of an image which “is not polluted” by the attraction or repulse for certain colors.”
After a few years of sport photos and shift to digital, he feels a deep need to turn to other sources of inspiration, to leave the oppressing urban universe.
Country bred, he always liked animals and long dreamed about Africa. Aimlessly, he leaves to meet African fauna in 2002. Here, He perceives, instinctively, the Beautiful and the Vital.
More than animal photos, the artist draws up real portraits of animal and wild personalities
His first exhibition touches the public who sees in these looks and these postures the feelings of the animal.
From then, Laurent Baheux is not anymore just a talented photographer but an activist, a messenger of the wildlife. Images of a striking beauty could lead us to forget the existing danger? He does not agree.
“I believe that there is no single way to raise awareness … I think that “the beautiful” brings an additional argument to the necessity of protecting. Like if we say “that is what we are going to lose if we go on like that!”
The photographer did not choose a documentary approach. Showing the consequences of deforestation, excessive urbanization or poaching remains necessary but he dedicates his images to preciosity of the wild life that the Man cruelly destroys.
His commitment with organizations and associations – from the WWF to the institute Jane Goodall or One Voice – passes by the donation of images for sensitization. Goodwill ambassador with United Nations for the environment, he is one of the actors of the anti-poaching program Wild and Precious launched in 2013.
Besides galleries and festivals, we have lost count distinctions and professional, militant or mainstream media which are interested in his art and his engagement.
This interest consolidates him in a lucid vision filled with hope. He compares the human societies with a large buffet in which 8 billion people would have unlimited access; a situation becoming intolerable for the planet.
“We have to rethink all the human activity to become sustainable by minimizing our environmental impact. The challenge is huge but not insuperable. The first step is the awareness of the absolute emergency in which we are. ”
He adds that everywhere where man gains ground, nature gets back.
“Stop thinking that the planet belongs to us, that we are the only ones to be able to have it. It is the territory and the natural housing environment of species which, for the greater part, were there before us”
Laurent Baheux recalls that man himself is an animal and that all the living beings are endowed with feelings and sensibility. Years of attentive observation allow him to underline that the human race legitimizes its arrogance by self-proclaiming most clever animal of earth. “That remains to be proved. Recent studies show the animal intelligence in a new light … It is only the beginning, our misunderstanding of the animal kingdom is still immense.”
Convinced that a large awareness will entail strong acts, the activist untiringly pursues his fight by images.
If his impressive bibliography gives a large place to Africa, he also highlights the sensational harshness of the Arctic lands and their threatened fauna in Ice is black. Today, he crosses the United States, Iceland and Mongolia for a series dedicated to wild horses.
In a new book called Animality, his monochrome portraits blend with the chiseled texts written by Audrey Jougla, also militant; a magnificent way to help us understanding animal rights and the reasons of their commitment.
In every shooting, his objective testifies of the Butterfly effect evoked by French singer Bénabar: “small causes, big consequences… Though this nice expression, little things, immense damages “.
At each page, Laurent Baheux’s photos arouse emotion and questioning.
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