Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your work
My name is Lars Korzelius, I’m 21 years old, and I am a Forest- and Nature Conservation student from the Netherlands. I spend a lot of my spare time in nature looking for wildlife, and I often document what I see with my camera.
Why did you choose wildlife photography in particular?
When I went to university, I had to move out of the city I grew up in and moved to a smaller town close to the campus. This town was situated on the edge of a forest, and consequently I spent a lot of my time here searching for wildlife. I was already into landscape photography at the time, but after a lot of encounters with the local wildlife in the forest I decided to buy a tele lens that would get me close enough to the animals. I have mainly been photographing wildlife ever since. Wildlife photography particularly interests me because it makes me spend a lot of time with wildlife. When you spend so much time photographing animals, you start to see special behaviors which you otherwise would not see.
What inspired your passion for conservation?
As a child I watched a lot of nature documentaries. I remember that among the first words I could say in English (not my native language) were “venomous” and “spider” because I watched Steve Irwin’s shows so much. I also visited the zoo almost every weekend where I learned a lot about wildlife and nature conservation which further sparked my interest for the natural world.
What excites you most when photographing animals in the wild?
Being able to observe special behavior from up close. A while ago I found a den in the forest. I dressed up in a ghillie suit, threw a camouflage net over my camera and waited for a few hours. After two hours of waiting two young foxes came out and started playing with each other, totally unaware of my presence. I think its amazing to see things like that, things you would usually only see in a nature documentary, happening right before my own eyes.
Have you always had an interest in nature?
What are your thoughts on rewilding?
I think rewilding is an amazing concept. Even though we tend to see nature as “wild” and “untouched”, the reality is that in a lot of places in Europe nature is being managed in certain ways. Forests are being cut and replanted, rivers are dammed, and wildlife populations controlled. Having areas in which nature can be wild again will allow more natural processes to occur, from which a lot of species can benefit. Last year I was in a rewilding area in the Velebit mountains of Croatia. It was very special to walk around in a huge natural forest and seeing the footprints of a bear that had walked on the exact place I was standing. However, having truly wild nature is not possible everywhere. Sometimes management is needed to increase biodiversity or to prevent human-wildlife conflict.
How important is photography in rewilding communications?
I feel like you can’t really care about something you don’t know about. Until a few years back I for example hardly knew anything about birds, so I wasn’t really interested in them. By following nature photographers on Instagram and seeing the birds they photographed, my ornithological knowledge greatly improved. Because I started to recognize birds, I also started to enjoy watching birds and now I care a lot more about birds and their protection. I often come across people when I’m photographing in nature and am sometimes surprised by how unaware people are of the wildlife around them. I hope that through my photography people will realize what kind of wildlife lives around them and make them more interested in the natural world. (I do realize that with my 850 followers on Instagram the impact I have is rather limited)
You're in the early stages of your career, but what advice would you give to other young photographers who are just starting out and considering pursuing a career in wildlife photography?
Wildlife photography is currently just a hobby for me, even though I would love to do it professionally. Maybe my advice for young photographers would be to question how feasible it is to become a professional wildlife photographer…