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    Life in Harmony: 'It’s Never Been More Important to Connect to Natural World'

    © Photo : Tim Flach
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    Tim Flach, a London-based photographer, artist and director who is best known for his imaginative photos of animals, took part in the International Economic Forum in Saint Petersburg. Radio Sputnik’s reporter spoke to Mr. Flach about his impressions of the event and the photographer’s projects.

    It's not the first time Tim Flach, the renowned wildlife photographer and winner of numerous international awards, visited Russia. "My father organized some trip around Russia and it would have been 1974. So I've been really fortunate to come here before. And now, it is a different feel, different vibe," he told Sputnik.

    Tim was 16 the first time he traveled to Saint Petersburg, and now he admits that it has changed a lot.

    "You get the sense of modern technologies, particularly in your ecology that you have here. You see new battery systems, cutting-edge robotics, electric vehicles…. The future's really here to be seen," the photographer shared his impressions from SPIEF 2017.

    Flach's newest book, "Endangered," which comes October 24, 2017, is the result of his extraordinary multiyear project to document the lives of threatened animal species. Traveling around the world, the acclaimed photographer constructed a powerful visual record of remarkable animals and ecosystems facing harsh challenges.

    Yellow Eyed Tree Frog Eggs
    © Photo : Tim Flach
    Yellow Eyed Tree Frog Eggs

    "I've actually just emerged from many weeks of intensive work on a two-year project which is looking at endangered animals. The main question is how we best connect to a natural world. And I think we all realize that it's never been more important to connect to the natural world and that our future depends on it," he noted.

    As for preservation programs in Russia, "there's a great deal of work done in different areas," Mr. Flach said. Current protection projects, carried out by specialists from the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Russian Geographical Society, include the polar bear, the snow and the Far Eastern leopards, the white whale and the Amur Tiger.

    While working on his projects in Russia, Tim explored Russian nature that can boast its incredible diversity and picked two subjects, which he thought could be interesting to see.

    Saiga
    © Photo : Tim Flach
    Saiga

    "I spent time near the Caspian sea pursuing photographs of the saiga, an extraordinary antelope with a proboscis nose. In the other project, I did photographs of a beluga sturgeon at the Moscow aquarium making it look like it was in the wild," he said.

    Beluga Sturgeon
    © Photo : Tim Flach
    Beluga Sturgeon

    Flach's projects span the world, from forests and savannahs to the polar seas and the great coral reefs. He manages to capture animals in action and portray them in a way never seen before, reflect their true spirit.

    "I wanted this project to be something that would tell stories and make us think about the personality of the animals and importance of the environment," the photographer explained.

    Whiteback Vultures on Carcass
    © Photo : Tim Flach
    Whiteback Vultures on Carcass

    "For years, I've worked on many aspects of using animals to connect us. In traditional photography, you think of an animal within a broader habitat. What I'm trying to do is at one level connect us to the personality. The challenge is always how to tell a story, how to retouch by the personality of this animal. So I'm exploring the very nature of how they look in the natural world and make it something that engages people," he added.

    He is bringing up the issue of animal protection, the necessity to think about wildlife. The real key lies in the right stories that not only illuminate science but also have an emotional dimension. "This is where the arts and the science work together," Tim Flach believes.

    It is also important that awareness is being spread globally, the photographer said. From early years, children at school learn how essential it is to care about the natural world and to live in harmony with it.

    "Children are being taught about the environment because it's recognized that they are the ones who will have to meet these challenges face on. And I'm hoping that my project is going to create some tools and elements that would support that," the photographer concluded.

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    photography, nature, protection, environment, animals, Russia, United Kingdom
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