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Here is the interview of Alain Pons, a famous animal photographer who accepted to answer to my questions and I thank him.

Alain Pons took a lot of photographes of feline, other mammals, birds, butterflies, but it's of course the photographs of polar bears which will illustrate this interview.



How did your passion for photography become your job ?

It's only a part of my job. First I am a graphic designer who has a passion for photography and nature.
Within the context of my job and the ad agency which employed me, I organized a plateau of shots (stilllives, cosmetics, portraits...)

After having worked with this kind of studio equipment, I decided to link these two passions for photography and animal world. I had the opportunity thanks to advertising, to show my work and it was the beginning : exhibitions, press, books, catalogues....

Today, I share my time between graphics, making up, photography and edition (all my passions ). I have to say that the animal photography occupy quite a long time, but I could not only do that, because I am so fond of image in general.

How long have you been practising this wonderful job and what was your training education ?

I have been practising photography since 1967, and I have been a professional since 1972.

I studied graphic Art at the decorative Arts school and at the graphic Art school in Paris.

I have no particular training in photography, but I had the extraordinary opportunity to meet some great photographers like Jean-Loup Sieff, Ernst Haas, Guy Bourdin, Robert Doisneau, Lucien Clergue and many others who helped me in this way.


As an animal photographer, I suppose that you have acquired supplementary knowledges (Zoology, biology...) What exactly are they ?

Yes of course; to become an animal photographer, it's essential to know the animals, their behaviour, their biotopes , the countries where they live,their repartition.

It's an amount of knowledges to learn, but in the same time, they make you more intelligent.

The school of nature and photography teaches you patience, vigilance, discretion, generosity (not for everybody !), creativity, simplicity, carefulness and respect.

Above all when we work with big and dangerous species of animals.



Some of your pictures represent scenes of the wildlife How did you manage to photography them?

Did you sometimes use scenarii to photography wild animals like bears (I am thinking about some places in Finland where people feed bears to photography them more easily)?

What are the animals which are most difficult to photography?

There are no animals which are easy or difficult to photography.

There are rare animals which live in out of the way places, countries in war, high mountains, deep oceans, deep forests...And when we manage to see these animals, it's the Graal...


What are your favourite animals ? And why ?

I have a very marked fondness for the feline.
I find them beautiful, intelligent, rare ; their look is very forceful and their behaviour photogenic.

But what I like best, is that my photos tell the history i saw in the more esthetic place.

What are your favourite countries ? Why ?

I like all the countries that I have visited : all of them are beautiful and original. Each one has a part of the dream I came search. But when I discovered Tanzania, I had a schock.

It was really Africa like I have imagine it, when I was 7/8 years old, which made me dream. The pale savanna with acacia parasol with a lot of animals on.


I saw on your website that you published documentary books? Did you only realize their photos ?

No. I write too. But it's not what I prefer. I like to relate.

What are the advice you would give to a person like me, who would like to go and photograph bears - who likes nature and animals - but who has never approached wild animals ?

Some organizations propose to observe and photography bears.

Ten years ago, I imagined a tour-operator for onr of these organizations.
Now I am no more part of this organization, but I still go with people who like nature and want to make photographs trips.

It's a way of seeing wild animals and tahing part in their protection.


What places do you recommend ?

To be certain to see and photography bears, you have to go to Canada, to Churchill for polar bears, to Alaska for grizzlis and black bears, and to Finland for European brown bears.

What are your projects for 2008 ?

I will go back to India, to photography the bengal tiger in April and to Kenya in september.


© Alain Pons for all the photographs


Creation date : 17/01/2008 : 18:54
Last update : 21/02/2012 : 15:17
Category : PHOTOGRAPHERS - Alain PONS interview : His photography and wild animal passion
(January 2008)

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