It all started when I was about seven years old and I was already very interested in animals. I was watching a Jacques Cousteau documentary, where Jacques and his team had a model of a hippo they had built and put under water. It took two guys to carry the ‘hippo-suit’. As they walked on the bottom of this river, they were able to document the secret life of hippos below water. I thought, hey … that is what I want to do and it somehow stuck with me ever since. I picked up my first camera at around 12 and have never really put it down since. I did try a few other jobs along the way and even managed my way through business school (although I took a year off when I was 17 and spent it working at a factory and in an Irish pub in Italy). Later I took courses at the Danish School for Graphic Design to complete a degree in graphic communication. That was fun, but photography and planning future adventures were always there, lurking in the shadows. One day, some years later, I was sitting on the couch at home with my wife Henriette (now ex wife). I was looking through one of my many books on photography and was admiring some images of polar bears taken by a Canadian Ranger.
I said to Henriette, “You know what, one of these days I really want to quit my job and do this.” To which Henriette replied, “Uri, stop talking about it all the time and just do it. We don’t need a lot of money and you should at least try.”
I got up from the couch and we talked about it the whole evening. The next day I quit my job at a travel agency and bought my first 500mm lens. And since then I have never stopped making images.
Since childhood I have loved nature and I have always been fascinated by it. I loved being outside and loved sailing with my family on our sailing boat. I clearly remember the first little flat and rectangular camera I had. Since then I have always had a camera! My dream was to become a primate biologist and study mountain gorillas and document it. I wanted to be Diane Fossy! But life works in mysterious ways and I became a near eastern archaeologist and a ranger in Africa. There was only one problem. What about seeing all the other parts of the world? I had to figure out how to see our amazing planet’s wildlife in my lifetime without it costing a fortune. And I wanted to document what I saw.
I became a wildlife guide and since I needed a rifle and pair of binocular in the field, I had to let go of my precious camera. My job was to protect people from wildlife such as polar bears, while showing them how beautiful nature was. I had a fantastic time as expedition leader on vessels in the Arctic and Antarctica, leading overland safaris all over Africa, finding tigers in India, whales, sea otters and brown bears in Canada and Alaska, dingoes and kangaroos in Australia etc. The seven continents were my workplace for many years in that way.
But after falling in love with Uri, I realised that I had to protect wildlife from people and not the other way around. My camera has made it back into my hands again along with my rifle and binoculars!
Uri is my ‘Yoda’ in photography, he has thought me everything I know and he showed me the ‘force’ of imagery. He is my true inspiration andhas patiently spent hours and hours going through big and beautiful photo books by various professional photographers. This was so inspiring that I just has to get back out there on all seven continents. This time with my pro Canon camera and Uri by my side!