The innovative and arresting wildlife photography of Anup Shah has established him as a unique presence in the genre for over 20 years. His work has become synonymous with originality, intimacy and detail, and has been featured in countless exhibitions, books and magazines including The World’s Top Wildlife Photographers (Rotovision 2004), Horzu Magazine (as one of the five best wildlife photographers in the world) and many times in National Geographic. He is one of the ten ‘Masters’ featured in the book, Masters of Nature Photography (Natural History Museum 2013), and his peerless oeuvre has won him the title of Wildlife Photographer of the year an astonishing 14 times.
Anup’s striking images reflect his key aspiration, which is to be authentic. Always looking for new ways to inhabit the environment he photographs, he works with a combination of remote and hidden cameras, but most importantly, places himself at the heart of every situation. He says: “I tend to wait for photographs in which the subject is at its most genuine, stalking its identity in defiance of an encroaching world. My mission is to remind of the value of wild animals living free. If, when people view my work on the wall, they hear the lion’s roar, smell the wind, and feel the elephant’s wrinkled skin, then my work will have ignited a spark in their minds which I recognize as empathy. When that connection is forged, I believe a sense of belonging to a greater world emerges. The personal satisfaction I get from knowing wild animals is intense, and I know that it's a relationship that's not born of anticipating a food or grooming reward from me. Ethical photography is incredibly important to me; I will never make compromises in terms of the animal's welfare, and I make sure that my images are respectful of the individual animal.”
Anup grew up in Kenya, where having wildlife on his doorstep provided a strong foundation for empathy with wild, open spaces and the inhabitants within and defined his lifelong fascination with wildlife from the beginning. At the age of 18 however he opted for an urban lifestyle and settled in London where he took a PhD in Mathematical Economics before taking up a position as a lecturer at the University of Essex. His job allowed him a certain amount of freedom for travel and research, and on a research trip to India in 1986 he saw a tiger in the wild. This proved to be a watershed moment, taking him back to his past interest in wildlife. He later returned to east Africa and entered a new and extraordinary career as a wildlife photographer.
Anup's images have been published widely and his books include Tiger's Tale, The Great Rift Valley of East Africa, Wild Rhythms of Africa, Circle of Life, Serengeti Spy and African Odyssey. Along with his wife, Fiona Rogers, he has spent the past decade photographing the chimpanzees of Tanzania's Gombe National Park for their new book Tales from Gombe. His magazine work includes eight full length features for National Geographic magazine.