AUTHOR Juan Bastidas
In May 2019, we welcomed world-renowned British wildlife photographer Harry Skeggs aboard the Theory to enjoy a week on board and to snap some of the extraordinary animal life we’re lucky enough to have on our doorstep.
After his visit, we asked Harry about his experience on board our new Relais & Chateaux vessel, Theory, and his life as a professional photographer.
You have taken photographs all over the world – what gives the Galapagos its wow-factor?
“What amazed me about the Galapagos was a completely unique combination of sheer density and also the completely relaxed nature of the wildlife. This means, as a photographer, I had an embarrassment of riches of animals to shoot, all of whom were more than happy to let me get within a few inches. To be that close to animals in the wild is pretty special, and its moments like those that make me incredibly grateful we still have places like the Galapagos.“
What were your top moments aboard Theory as a photographer?
“It was actually my birthday whilst out on the Theory and on the day itself, I was surprised with an incredible encounter with a sea lion. I had just begun to swim in, having not seen any in the shallows and I heard a large splash. With photographic senses that overtake most survival senses, I quickly swam towards the noise. Now completely alone, I found a sea lion who had just caught a parrotfish. Proud of his catch, this sea lion happily flicked its lunch at me, blew bubbles at my camera and generally played in a way that only a puppy can. It was personal, intimate and incredibly fun. It is, to date, one of the best wildlife encounters I have had. Completely enchanting.“
And your top moments as a guest?
“It was a real pleasure to join the boat and see how guests were treated first hand. I was very impressed by the level of guiding and the incredible trip Ecoventura had put together for its clients. As an experienced guide myself, it always gives me an enormous sense of happiness to see people, who are, after all, investing a lot of time and money, having the times of their lives. It’s what travel is about, and it was a pleasure to see.“
What do you aim to capture with your images? Do you feel more like you are telling a story or making a memory?
“Every photo is different, but for me I always like to try to capture the personality of the subject. Whether this is the awkwardness of the boobies or the playfulness of the sea lions, it’s their character that brings photos alive. Many people take photos to capture memories and that is a fantastic use for a camera, but for the professionals it has to be a little bit more – I want my images to be about the subjects, to encourage audiences to engage with the subjects and understand them, as it is only this that will help people care for them.“