Craig: “The onset of summer in South Africa’s Kruger National Park brings overwhelming relief after the long dry months of winter. Rain comes suddenly, the earth trembling in anticipation, licked dry by the hot breath of heat haze. This image was captured moments before the storm broke, the sky heaving under remarkable mammatus clouds that looked more like the underside of the ocean than the belly of the sky. In order to shoot the sky’s tones against a foreground of trees, I lay flat on the ground, pushing the camera’s ISO high to allow a long enough hand held exposure. Minutes after the photograph was taken I was drenched, but it was worth it.”
Photo by Craig Hayman
Craig: “In a remote coastal village in Gabon adjacent to Loango National Park, a young boy cradles a moustached guenon monkey. In his other hand he holds a knife. The boy tells me that the monkey is an orphan, and that he is raising it. The killing of animals for bushmeat is commonplace in central Africa, and primates are particularly vulnerable. Sometimes the young of these animals are kept as pets or for trade. The practice of killing wild animals to eat is an ancient and culturally significant part of life in this region, however the practice of capturing animals to trade is a new and far more sinister threat. The monkey’s vulnerability is apparent, his future dependent on the boy’s benevolence. To me this represented the bigger picture in the region. The ongoing preservation of wildlife and wilderness in the region is now in the hands of humans, who must ensure that remaining wilderness is left intact.”
What made you move to Australia?
Craig: “I wanted to pursue a career in architecture and sustainability, and so after leaving the bush I moved to Sydney to complete a two year masters degree in sustainable design at Sydney University. I love it here. I connect naturally with the openness of the people, the relaxed lifestyle, and the beauty of the city. I get to catch a boat to work every day!”
Craig: “I feel now that I have two homes, one being South Africa, and the other being Australia. I haven’t started supporting the Wallabies against the Springboks yet though.”
How often do you come home?
Craig: “I’ve been back to South Africa a couple of times in the last few years. I’m due for a trip back soon, there is a big road trip I would love to do.”
Do you miss Africa?
Craig: “Every day. Australia is beautiful, and I’m very happy in Sydney, but I miss the rawness and the complexity and the access to wilderness that Africa offers. I do plan to live in Africa again.”
What made you decide to publish a book?
Craig: “I was quite fortunate that the opportunity came to me quite by accident. I never sought out a publisher, and I think if I had actively looked to publish a book the process would have been more difficult. I’ve had an interesting and diverse life thus far, and carrying a camera has allowed to record and share this. I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity to record some part of it in print.”
What is the book about?
Craig: “Wildlife in Pictures is a wildlife photographic coffee table book from the unique perspective of a conservationist and safari guide. It is the result of thousands of hours in the field, drawing upon intimate knowledge of the subject area and species, and an earnest commitment to the preservation of wilderness.”
Craig: “In 320 pages the book leads the reader on a journey through the grasslands, forests, mountains, deserts, rivers and coastlines of Africa and India, pairing spectacular images of animals and natural landscapes with fascinating stories and written insight to add new meaning to these striking photographs. The book includes many rare images from Gabon, in equatorial west Africa, revealing subjects and areas scarcely seen by outside eyes.”
Where are your books available for purchase?
Craig: “Wildlife in Pictures is available worldwide in good bookstores and online.”
What is next for Craig Hayman?
Craig: “I’m really enjoying where I am now in life and my career. I’m learning a lot, Sydney is an inspiring place for both design and photography, and I’m surrounded by people who bring out the best in me. Longer term, I do have ambitions of living somewhere a little wilder, it could be Africa, India, or elsewhere. I have a few more photographic projects I’m working on. Hopefully “Wildlife in Pictures’ does well and there’s an opportunity for some of this new work to appear in print.”
Lastly, if you had one tip for budding wildlife photographers what would it be?
Craig: “Make sure your passion for photography motivates you to get out and explore, if it becomes a chore, change things up. Find friends to take photos with, you can learn a lot from working collaboratively. My other key advice is to back up your files properly, I lost more than half of my image library when a computer and two hard drives failed in quick succession.”
Thank you Craig – for your time, for your tips and for being such an inspiration to us. For more on Craig Hayman click here.