A With a great deal of empathy and detailed knowledge of the natural environment he is able to slip into the role of an animal. To do this, he usually makes himself invisible. His hideouts are ingenious down to the very last detail. The objects that he pulls from his rucksack have an air of mystery about them. Yet it is only through these methods that Franz Bagyi is able to move among free-living wild animals and to take photographs from close quarters.
The photos that he takes have a reality that cannot be sensed in a park or zoo. Just like the animals that are always on the lookout, so, too, is the photographer. He tries to think like they think. And the Author, Andreas Kläne, manages to convey many of Franz’s experiences while out in the wild of Alaska, Hungary and Italy. He takes his readers with him and puts them in Franz Bagyi's shoes. The result is a book that achieves something that is becoming more and more difficult to achieve for individuals in an increasingly urbanized world. That is to experience the reality, harshness and splendour of nature and to step back and be amazed.
The Global Sustainability Trust’s aim is to convey this sense of awe. Not, it has to be said, because it wants to encourage amateur photographers to rush out into the wild with their cameras and disturb it. Its objective is to encourage city dwellers in particular to think about the way in which nature works in our biodiversity. The Trust works on a worldwide scale against the exploitation of natural resources and for a better understanding about the importance of achieving sustainable use.
Words and pictures support this cause in their own way. They serve in creating awareness for the natural environment. And it is through this awareness that sustainability becomes recognized as a task. And not just as any task, but as one of the most urgent and natural of all human tasks.
Franz watches the heron through his viewfinder, takes a picture, watches again, takes another picture, while attempting to maintain a view of the surroundings. But nothing happens. No new animals enter his field of view. The heron stands in the lake as motionless as statue. For seemingly endless minutes. Poised. Like someone who intimates that something awful could happen if he moves. Bagyi's senses are honed to the full.
He looks through the viewfinder, and hopes for some movement. But the heron just stands there. Motionless amongst the cacophony of birds that fill the skies with their song, unseen from amongst the branches. Then suddenly, a great rushing from above, the sound of a bird approaching quickly in low flight. Despite his alertness, Franz Bagyi fails to see it coming.
And while he is twisting his neck up towards the sky, the bird lands on the water. Suddenly, as if ignoring the fishing statue, a black stork stands in the preserve of the grey, slim eminence and calls from a respectful distance.
Born in 1945, Franz Bagyi is a photographer of nature who lives in Germany and his native country of Hungary. Yet despite this, he says “I don’t think I have a favourite country. The world is like an enormous menu with lots of delicious meals.” The photos in this book would never have found their way onto film without a great deal of patience on his part. As far as he is concerned, being patient is not difficult. Because it’s not just finally being in a position to hit the shutter release that gets his adrenaline pumping, it’s all the things that lead up to this moment. And it is because of this that he likes to draw a parallel between nature photography and eroticism. “Immediate fulfilment in romance is not what it's all about. Seduction and carefully working your way towards the goal is what it's really all about.” And Franz is a master when it comes to working his way towards wild animals.
Born in 1956 and working as a freelance journalist in North Germany, the author of this book is Andreas Kläne. As far as he is concerned, the most fascinating thing about his work is the opportunity it gives him to let his readers encounter real-life events, to lead them into places that they have never been and to let them sense strange environments that he has researched for them. He likes to keep his sentences short, rich in substance and expressive. Franz Bagyi stalks and gets close to wild animals. Andreas Kläne gets close to Franz Bagyi. Just like Franz, his intention is to entice his readers into the wild and to almost let them smell and taste its character. The chapters that he has created can be compared with a photo gallery. His words are like pictures; animals, grass and trees are made almost tangible.