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Wed, August 19, 2020

Fossey Fund’s Staff Photographer Shares His Favorite Photos on World Photography Day

It’s World Photography Day! Here at the Fossey Fund, we are fortunate to have an incredible team of talented photographers working in the field, bringing you photographs of the gorilla families we protect. Today we’d like to introduce you to our staff photographer, Cedric Ujeneza.

Cedric has been with the Fossey Fund since June 2018. Growing up, he didn’t plan to be a photographer but, he says, “photography found me when I was trying to find myself.” He started out by taking photos of friends, family members, and anything else that caught his eye. Studying conservation at the University of Rwanda, says Cedric, “opened my eyes to the world of nature and biodiversity.” He began to dream of becoming a nature photographer and helping people to see the beauty that surrounds them every day.

 

Cedric was hired by the Fossey Fund as a communications assistant, where one of his responsibilities is to photograph the gorillas. “Fossey Fund helped me take intensive photography training from our partners, and I learned so much,” he says of his early days on the job. “Now photography has become a career for me and I am living my dream.”

 

What’s the hardest thing about photographing wildlife? Wildlife can be dangerous, says Cedric, so photographers have to know how to behave around other species to minimize the risks. Photographing mountain gorillas involves lengthy hikes through forested mountains and requires you to be both physically fit and committed. Also, notes Cedric, you never really have any control over your subject when your specialty is animals. It can be frustrating, he says, when you are prepared to snap a photo but the subject moves in the wrong direction, leaving you without the shot.

 

We asked Cedric to share a few of his favorite photos that he’s taken on the job.

I took this photo of mother Isaro holding her infant in 2019. I just love the sweet connection between mother and infant gorillas, how mothers hold their babies very gently and always do everything to protect the infant.
This is a photo of 2-year-old Uhiriwe from the Mafunzo group swinging on vines. Infant gorillas start to engage in self-play when they are around one year old. At that age, an infant is generally able to play quietly on its own. It is so interesting to watch them at play, jumping on trees while practicing their balancing skills. As a photographer, you can’t miss that chance to take a great photo.
I love this 2019 photo showing dominant silverback Gicurasi and blackback Imfura engaging in friendly play. We don’t often see giant males playing like children, but it is so much fun to see them enjoying their playtime.

Through his photography, Cedric gives our followers a window into a world they otherwise might never see, helping us to better understand the strength, affection and love exhibited by this endangered species that shares 98% of our DNA. On World Photography Day and every day, we are so grateful to Cedric and our other talented photographers for showing us this world through their camera lenses.

 

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