An award-winning photographer who spent 10 years working for The Times before becoming an ambassador for an international wildlife conservation charity will be showcasing his photos at The Forum, Norwich, next week.
Protecting the Future – Conservation in Action, will be David Bebber’s first exhibition at The Forum, focusing on the vital work done by Halesworth-based World Land Trust (WLT), and its overseas partner organisations in protecting threatened habitats and wildlife around the world.
David, who joined The Times as a contract photographer in 2006 having previously worked at Reuters and other news agencies, found out about the work of WLT during a trip to Zambia for the national paper.
He said: “I was partnered with Simon Barnes for an assignment to Zambia where we were covering a Christmas charity appeal. He was a chief sports writer at The Times but also did a lot of stuff around wildlife and conservation.
“He was already involved with the World Land Trust and when he was doing stories about their work around the world I would be partnered with him. And through that I started working more closely with the Trust.
“Simon and I worked together quite a lot and did 10 or so trips to World Land Trust sites or related conservation projects for The Times.
“I could see that their work was really effective in helping to conserve habitats and I was really pleased to help spread the word about them through my photos.
“After a few trips they asked me if I would like to become an ambassador, which I was very proud to do. I would never consider myself a wildlife photographer, but I have a really keen interest in the natural world and protecting it, so I was really pleased to help promote their work.
“Last year we visited Vietnam where the Trust has formed a partnership with Viet Nature, working on reforestation to preserve habitats and wildlife. And the year before we went to Armenia to photograph the conservation projects there.
“Sometimes I think it’s the most important work you can do. The work of the Trust is vitally important and you really do see the rate habitats are being lost due to the expanding human population, which is really sad. Once these areas are gone, they are gone forever, and that’s what the World Land Trust is trying to protect.”
As well as enjoying travelling around the world, David said one of his favourite things about working with the Trust is meeting the people on the ground who are fighting to protect the areas they love.
He said: “It’s amazing to see the wildlife and go to areas that, for the most part, are untouched and left as nature intended.
“But it’s not all just about the wildlife, it’s also a real privilege to meet the field officers and rangers who work in these places and are so in tune with their environments. They have so much knowledge and see things that you would never pick up on.”
The exhibition opens at The Forum on Tuesday, August 27, and continues until Friday, August 30, open daily from 10am to 4pm.
There will also be an evening with David and author Simon Barnes in the auditorium at The Forum on August 27, from 7pm followed by a viewing of the exhibition. Tickets, which cost £10 are available at worldlandtrust.org/portal/public/shop
David said: “The exhibition will include some of my favourite photos that I have shot over the last 10 years while working with the World Land Trust. There’s some wildlife photography, some landscapes and some which give an insight into how an organisation like that works on the ground.
“At the evening event Simon and I will talk about the work of the organisation, some of our experiences and the logistics of covering these stories in such remote locations. Simon also has some great knowledge about wildlife and the natural world which he will share.”
Photos: David Bebber