My First Calendar 30th Anniversary
Posted on Mar 1, 2022 in News
Thamserku and Kangtega, Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal
Snow Leopard, Panthera uncia
Ololokwe and Koitogor, Samburu National Reserve, Kenya.
African Elephant, Loxodonta africana
Following my first solo exhibition at the Linhof Gallery in London, I was contacted by British Airways who were keen for me to work on their 1992 corporate calendar. The company had established a department called the Assisting Nature Conservation Programme, founded to support threatened and endangered animals in a variety of ways. The list included the snow leopard, black rhino, red-crowned crane, jaguar, along with ten other species and I was commissioned to photograph the habitat of each species which would become the theme of their next calendar. To complement each of the habitat photographs, they approached the wildlife artist Keith Brockie, to produce a watercolour painting of each of the animals, which would be published on the calendar, alongside my photographs.
I began in August 1990 with the habitat of the African elephant in Kenya and travelled, back-to-back, through to August 1991, visiting 14 countries. Two species that didn’t make the calendar were the Golden-headed Lion Tamarin which reside in northern Brazil and the Radiated Tortoise in Madagascar.
The front cover of the calendar reads:
‘On the pages of this calendar are twelve species – under threat. A mere twelve of the countless plants and animals whose very existence is jeopardised by the activities of man. Mankind’s encroachment into the wild not only posses a direct threat to flora and fauna of the natural world, but can also damage, sometimes irrevocably, the habitats essential to their survival.’
‘In response to an increasing awareness of this threat to the environment British Airways established the Assisting Nature Conservation Programme. Founded initially to support species at risk, the scheme has evolved to include assistance for studies in the wild, habitat protection and conservation and the education and training of wildlife officers. Recognising that the very nature of the aviation business has the potential to affect the environment in an adverse way, British Airways has made the Assisting Nature Conservation just one part of a much wider environmental programme, addressing a number of issues.’
Thirty years on, it seems inconceivable that a company would commission travel photography on this scale, however their commitment to helping these endangered and critically endangered animals was sincere and many, such as the Black Rhino, are facing the real prospect of extinction today.
The success of 1992 calendar led to three more commissions from British Airways and eventually to my own range of calendars which I began publishing in 1999. Back then, it didn’t occur to me that I would spend much of my life creating products that measure time.
Aride Island, Seychelles
Roseate Terns, Sterna dougallii
Lake Kariba, Matusadona National Park, Zimbabwe.
Black Rhino, Diceros bicornis