The French photographer Laurent Baheux dedicates his new book to the “King of the Animals”—the lion. Breathtaking black-and-white images create a powerful portrait of one of the most majestic and endangered species in the world. For almost 20 years, he has journeyed across Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana to capture the wild lion living freely in its natural habitat. Think of lions and one might think of the powerful member of the “Big Five,” with a roar that echoes across the planes, and a merciless pursuit of its prey. One might think of the pack animal, surprisingly playful and affectionate within its pride. Or one might think of the endangered lion—long the target of hunters and trophy collectors. Laurent Baheux journeys across Africa to capture the lion in all its intricate facets and the result is a sensitive and intimate photo portrait: at once powerful, fragile, and tender. Baheux’s stunning black-and-white lion photographs show this feline animal with the precision and texture of a studio portrait—its many different movements, postures, behaviors, and expressions captured with startling intimacy. Playing among the pride, out hunting its prey, or eyeing us directly from the page, Baheux’s lion photography is as much a tribute to the lion’s character, power, and feeling as it is a haunting reminder that this most impressive of animals is also among the most endangered wildlife on earth. A member of the „Big Five,“ the lion has long been the target of hunters and trophy collectors.
All the pictures in this book show wild lions living freely in their natural habitat in Africa. The photographs were taken from a distance by the photographer working alone, his eyes glued to the camera and its viewfinder. So as not to interfere with the daily existence of his subjects, Laurent Baheux works without an assistant, without remote controls, without photographic traps, drones, or robots. The images were taken between March 2002 and June 2019, over the course of about thirty trips to Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana, each trip lasting between two weeks and two months.
Born in Poitiers in 1970, Laurent Baheux started his career in the frenetic world of international sport before moving his horizons to wilder climes, where flora and fauna continue to live in freedom. Since the beginning of 2000 he has been creating a collection of monochrome wildlife photographs, characterized by a contrasting, condensed style. With a unique approach that overrides the laws of nature photography, he strives to capture the personality and humanity in every animal as distinct individuals. Laurent Baheux is actively involved with environmental organizations and served as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in 2013. In this context, he supported activities against poaching and exploitation, in particular hunting, bullfighting, or the physical and psychological abuse of animals in zoos and circuses. His photographs are on show in galleries and are featured in a number of books, publications, and exhibitions in France and abroad.
- Stunning black-and-white lion photography
- The King of the Animals in all its richness and character
- Laurent Baheux’s third book with teNeues
- Accompanying this illustrated book, a black-and-white documentary about Laurent Baheux and his work in Africa will celebrate its premiere on the French channel USHUAÏA TV in April/May 2020
Photos © 2019 Laurent Baheux. All rights reserved.