Human-wildlife conflict comes into sharp focus as David Chancellor looks through his camera. All that he has seen has been captured under a series of photographs titled ‘With Butterflies and Warriors’, on display at the fourth edition of the International Photography Festival XPOSURE 2019, the region’s biggest photography event, which began at Expo Centre Sharjah yesterday (Thursday).
Addressing a seminar on the sidelines of the event, the multi-award-winning documentary photographer drew attention to the raw complexities of people’s relationship with wildlife, particularly critical issues such as conflict and poaching of endangered and vulnerable species.
Explaining the narrative purpose of his photographs, David said: “When wildlife and humans live alongside each other, it is important to create a sustainable environment of co-existence, enabling the wildlife to benefit from the people’s presence rather than experience threat from them.”
He said his photographs, based on the inhabitants of the tribal lands of Kenya, reveal how culturally critical wildlife is for the tribal community. “My photographic engagements have shown that it is possible to engage the local community in a positive manner to ensure the protection of wildlife.”
He pointed out that current efforts by non-governmental organisations to transform the semi-nomadic lifestyle of the people by setting up waterholes for tourism purposes pose a grave threat to wildlife security and people’s existence. “Such efforts will change the dynamics of the tribal population’s relationship with wildlife,” he stated.
David’s photographs also portray constructive changes such as efforts to educate the tribal people, considering the significance of the tribal community as a vital source of information on local wildlife.
Organised by the Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB), the four-day festival runs until Sunday, September 22. From climate change to fashion, from politics to nature, wildlife and human disasters, as well as natural calamities, the exhibitions cover the entire range of life on this planet through pictures, giving the visitor a fresh perspective on life and the workings of the human mind.