Saturday, 27 February 2010

Greg Du Toit: The Waiting Game

Photo © Greg du Toit- (Courtesy The Daily Mail) -All Rights Reserved

Here's an interesting story reported by The Daily Mail (a UK newspaper) which tells us that Greg du Toit, a wildlife photographer living in south Kenya's Great Rift Valley, spent 3 months submerged in a wild lions watering hole for three months, just to get what he deemed to be the perfect photograph of these lions drinking.

The photographer had tried to get the right photograph for a year, but failed to get "it", so he waded into the murky pool with his camera where he spent 270 hours and ended up contracting several tropical diseases, including the potentially deadly Bilharzia.

There are some inconsistencies in this story as the Daily Mail's article mentions that the photographer spent 3 months in the watering hole, and then mentions 270 hours. Obviously, the hours (or days) he spent in there were not consecutive, but notwithstanding, it's a testament to Greg's single mindedness. Why he didn't wear a wet suit to protect him from waterborne diseases is another question which is not addressed in the article.

Yes, photography is a waiting game. I think travel photography, in particular, requires infinite patience, certainly not to the extreme lengths this photographer seems to have gone to, but nevertheless persistence and tenacity are needed. "Parachuting" in a remote Indian village hoping to capture a bunch of wonderful images in an hour or two is -unless one is very lucky- an overly ambitious goal...a holy grail kind of thing. For that, one has to spend the time, establish the requisite connections and know how to engage people honestly, respectfully and with kindness.