LB2.jpg
9.8.2023

Book "Beusker - Look into my Eyes" - The Interview

Beusker

Look into my Eyes

224 pages

29 x 37 cm | 11 2/5 x 14 1/2 in.

approx. 180 b/w photographs

€ 70 | $ 95 | £ 60
go to book

The book "Beusker - Look into my Eyes" brings together the best animal portraits by wildlife photographer Lars Beusker in a monograph for the first time. The black-and-white images are exhibited in galleries worldwide and are coveted collector's items due to their limited edition. From now on, owning a real Beusker no longer has to be a dream: "Beusker - Look into my Eyes" is the compilation of impressive wildlife photographs in close-up encounters. 

As one of the most important nature photographers of our time, Lars Beusker received the title "Nature Photographer of the Year 2022". He photographs wild animals in their natural environment at close range and almost always manages to make eye contact. The direct proximity of the animals creates a fascinating intimacy and atmosphere. The human-like portraits look directly into the viewer's soul and invite one to sink into them. 
 

Beusker's photographs of wild elephants and big cats are legendary. The photographer captures every little detail and transmits a feeling of immediate proximity with his photographs. Every hair, every wrinkle and every muscle of the wild animals becomes visible. The illustrated book almost brings the animals to life and creates a feeling of immediate proximity and liveliness. On 10 September, "Beusker - Look into my Eyes" will be published by teNeues Verlag. We talked to Lars Beusker about his book and his work. Learn more about his individual technique, challenges and the secret behind his black and white images:

How do you manage to create such an intimate connection with the wild animals? 

Unlike many of my colleagues, I usually don't use long telephoto focal lengths to photograph an animal from a long distance. The reason is that then I don't get that special eye contact because the animal can't see me at all. However, by using short lenses and short focal lengths, I have to get close to the animal. It is inevitable that at some point the animal will notice me and look directly at me.

What challenges and precautions do you face in your work? 

That is the difficult part, especially in pictures where the animal is running towards me head-on. But there is a simple explanation for the given safety: early in the morning, the predatory cats set out to hunt. Then I drive up to a suitable hill with a guide. The guide then scans the kilometre-wide surroundings with his binoculars for the slightest movement. Here, a lion, leopard or cheetah that is on the way to hunt immediately catches his eye. The animal is not yet on the attack, but on the scent of a herd of wildebeest or gazelles grazing 3, 4 or 5 kilometres away. This is our chance to drive from the hill in the direction of the animal's run and let it wander directly towards us.
In doing so, it is usually not possible for me to leave the vehicle. For this reason, the doors of the car are completely removed. I then wait lying on my stomach and use a camera with a rear display, which I can see from above. If I keep the camera pointed out of the vehicle and look at the display from above, I can see the animal coming towards me at the same time. With this technique I get the low ground perspective that I always try to achieve. Two things are always important: eye contact and the low to the ground perspective.

The big cats have grown up with safari tourism inside and outside the national parks for generations and are used to cars, noise and stench. For this reason, it works that the animals do not see me as a threat and attack.

[tn-gallery-3269]

You were awarded Nature Photographer of the Year 22 at the International Photography Awards in New York. What does this recognition mean to you?

It means an enormous amount to me, especially for two reasons: Firstly, because many of my colleagues, whom I myself hold in very high regard and whose work I value enormously, have received this title in recent years. To now be included in this award means a lot to me and makes me proud. The second reason is the International Photography Awards themselves. The IPA is a competition I am proud of because, unlike many other prestigious competitions, it has the largest jury ever. The jury last year consisted of 80 members scattered all over the world. The members are photographers, curators, museum directors, gallery owners or journalists. This diversity means a lot to me.

How has the award influenced your career as a nature photographer?  

In my work as such, it has not influenced me at all. I've been doing this for 5 years and I don't change my approach. But of course an award like this is a special marketing lever. Television reports and newspaper publications come on their own and you are asked for interviews. Of course, this is very effective in terms of publicity. In public relations, an award like this puts the turbo on.

How has the award influenced your career as a nature photographer?  

In my work as such, it has not influenced me at all. I've been doing this for 5 years and I don't change my approach. But of course an award like this is a special marketing lever. Television reports and newspaper publications come on their own and you are asked for interviews. Of course, this is very effective in terms of publicity. In public relations, an award like this puts the turbo on.

[tn-gallery-3270]

Why only black and white pictures?  

That is relatively simple. It's not primarily about aesthetics, which many visitors to my galleries where my pictures can be seen confirm, but about a conviction that is important to me. We all grow up in a culture and upbringing that is extremely governed by colour. This starts in infancy. Boys get rompers, bedding and a Maxi Cosi in light blue, girls get the whole thing in pink or rose. In the nursery, the children are given colourful wax crayons. If they paint the sky light blue, the lawn green and the sun yellow, they are praised because everything is right and looks nice. When we get dressed or our partner gets dressed and asks for our opinion, we always decide according to colours. We decide according to likeable or unlikeable and according to harmony or disharmony.

Psychologically, we evaluate everything by colour hundreds of times a day in our subconscious. We see a flashy car, which is particularly noticeable, and perceive it as a disturbing factor. If, on the other hand, we see a pair of twins dressed in the same colours, with identical hair colour, ear jewellery and shoes, we find them sympathetic.

We subconsciously evaluate colours in milliseconds according to harmony and disharmony. That's exactly what I don't want the viewers of my pictures to do. If you look at my pictures, many of them were not taken in sunshine or in very parched regions. The long dry season makes the grass look not green but beige and the elephant reddish brown from the dust of the earth instead of the typical grey. If, on top of that, clouds appear in the sky or it is a hazy day, the whole of nature and the colouring of the picture looks rather dull. My picture would probably appear disharmonious. Because we are so polarised, we would prefer to see the sky light blue and the grass green. But if I change the picture to greyscale and work out the contrasts, i.e. light areas light and dark areas dark, then I take this possibility away from the viewer. 

[tn-gallery-3272]

 

Further magazine articles

New Orleans by Werner Pawlok - The Spotify Playlist

New Orleans by Werner Pawlok - The Spotify Playlist

Discover the Spotify playlist for Werner Pawlok's new illustrated book "New Orleans": The playlist is the perfect musical accompaniment to the book.

More
"Mercedes-Benz Milestones": The sequel to the series

"Mercedes-Benz Milestones": The sequel to the series

Discover the fascinating history of the world-famous car brand with the three-pointed star in our new coffee table book by Michael Köckritz.

More

Beautiful Ordinary Objects: Book "Everyday Luxury"

Discover the new teNeues book by Agata Toromanoff and immerse yourself in the multifaceted world of "Everyday Luxury - Beautiful things of everyday life"

More
Beautiful Ordinary Objects: Book "Everyday Luxury"