Our Burning Planet


Out of this (wild) world

The award-winning photograph of gemsbok in Namibia. (Photo: Peter Pickford)

This photograph of gemsbok in the wilds of Namibia has won veteran wildlife photographer and conservationist Peter Pickford a double award in the annual Africa in Focus competition, scooping both the judges’ and people’s choice sections in the African Landscape category. It comes as some consolation for Pickford, one of the many authors whose book launches and distribution were casualties of the Covid-19 lockdown.

See the Africa in Focus award winners here

The internationally lauded photographic book Wild Land details the travels and travails of Peter Pickford and fellow photographer, wife and “muse”, Beverly, as they journeyed into the remaining wild lands on all seven continents during a six-year odyssey.

Throughout their journeying from the Arctic to Patagonia and from the Tibetan heights of the Himalayas to the Skeleton Coast, the Caprivi and the deserts of Australia and Namibia, Peter kept a diary.  This emerged, as Peter puts it, “as my overgrown tree” to which Beverly “took an axe [and] fashioned it into the garden of writing”.

She did a great job, as did the publishers, and the result is a 403-page book, To the Edges of the Earth, that emerged just in time for the lockdown. The 17 black and white photographs featured give only an inkling of the grandeur of the varied wildernesses. But the text makes abundantly clear why humanity should rally to protect what remains of the diminishing areas of our planet still in a relatively natural state. DM 

* To the Edges of the Earth — A Journey into Wild Land (Bookstorm, 423 pages, R390) 

Terry Bell is a freelance writer.

Absa OBP

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