Photographer captures human face of endangered species

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An Pied Tamarin is photographed by Tim Flach in this photo part of the book "Endangered". (AFP)
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London-based photographer Tim Flach poses with his book "Endangered" November 13, 2017 in Washington, DC. (AFP)
Updated 25 November 2017
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Photographer captures human face of endangered species

WASHINGTON: Can you love an animal to death? A new book by British photographer Tim Flach documents some of Earth’s most treasured species pushed to the brink of extinction by manmade crises, from pangolins hunted for their scales to Brazil’s pied tamarin threatened by urbanization.
“Most of the changes in the past have been driven by natural forces, but on this occasion, it seems to be driven by us,” Flach told AFP on a visit to Washington.
“My real question is: ‘Why am I here doing it? Why am I here taking a picture of the last male white rhino?’ It’s the question of how we got to that point, rather than simply one of wonderment.”
Coral, insects and even some ecosystems are included alongside some of the most recognizable threatened mammals such as polar bears and lesser-known creatures like harlequin toads.
The panda is one of the least vulnerable species found in the more than 150 images of “Endangered,” whose release coincides with a new exhibition of Flach’s photos in London’s Osborne Samuel Gallery.
Flach, known for his highly stylized photographs of dogs and horses, captures the animals’ almost human expressions.
On the book’s cover, a crowned sifaka lemur hugs his knees toward his chest, his bright yellow eyes betraying a worried yet inquisitive look, like a reprimanded schoolboy.
Flach, 59, often uses a black velvet backdrop and his lighting captures colors in such detail that one can almost feel the softness of the lemur’s black, orange and white fur.
In the summer, Flach trekked to Russia’s Caspian Sea, hiding in a “fly-infested hole” in search of the saiga antelope, an Ice Age survivor that once roamed alongside woolly mammoths but could soon be wiped out by poachers preying on its twisted horns.
Flach could only get a good sighting of the females, so he returned in the dead of winter with the longest lens he could borrow from Canon and got just one shot.
Other encounters during a two-year odyssey included staring the last male white rhinoceros in the eye and swimming with great white sharks off the Galapagos Islands.
He hopes that others share his passion for wildlife.
“If we care about something, we are more likely to take action,” said Flach.


Like a Berber: Madonna celebrates 60th birthday in Marrakech

Updated 19 August 2018
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Like a Berber: Madonna celebrates 60th birthday in Marrakech

  • The Queen of Pop donned the attire of a “Berber Queen” in Marrakech on her birthday
  • On Sunday, the American star posted pictures and videos on her Instagram of a fun photo shoot with British-Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj

JEDDAH: Madonna’s 60th birthday celebrations are creating quite a buzz, especially delighting her Arab fans that she chose to mark the milestone in Morocco.
The Queen of Pop donned the attire of a “Berber Queen” in Marrakech on her birthday, wearing a fuchsia chiffon long-sleeved gown by Gucci with Berber jewelry and a headpiece by Marianna Harutunian.
On Sunday, the American star posted pictures and videos on her Instagram of a fun photo shoot with British-Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj, known as the “Andy Warhol of Marrakech.” Madonna, who posed for pictures with her family, is seen dressed in a traditional red attire, accessorized with colorful jewelry and a Louis Vuitton headscarf.
“Life can be sweet and sour and sometimes a surprise can happen that you never would think of and this was one of (those) moments; want to thank Madonna and her lovely family and being patient for the shoot at my riad,” Hajjaj wrote on Instagram.
Hashtagged #birthday #magic #Marakesh, Madonna’s pictures have gone viral on social media since she first posted a portrait of herself bedecked in Berber jewelry and brandishing a sign that reads “The Queen.” She wrote: “Finally and at last it’s my birthday! I have survived! Life is beautiful!”
On the eve of the big day, she toured the former imperial city of Morocco under the close watch of the paparazzi and wrote: “Walking through the Labyrinth of the Medina during the Call to Prayer.” She posted a video shot at night, wandering in the alleys of the city’s ancient market.
“Mystical walk through the desert,” she captioned a photo featuring her in the desert, with six horsemen holding candles in the background.
Another portrait shows Madonna wearing a fez decorated with Berber jewelry, along with a caption reading: “Today I am wearing CAKE on my head!“
Known for repeatedly reinventing herself during her 35-year pop career, Madonna has been staying at the luxury palace-turned-hotel El Fenn, owned by the sister of British billionaire Richard Branson, Vanessa. The property has been redecorated and staff have had their smart phones confiscated to protect the privacy of Madonna and her guests. The birthday guest list has also been kept secret, and Moroccan police were keeping journalists and photographers at bay.
Guests reportedly dressed in traditional Bedouin garb for the Arabian-themed party featuring Berber music. According to the Mirror, Indian designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee designed kaftans and Berber costumes for them.
Agence France-Presse reported a local photographer as saying that he had spotted Madonna wearing a veil covering the hair and face but for the eyes. She reportedly visited the five-star Kasbah Agafay spa, went shopping at a souk and enjoyed a camel trek in the desert.
Local media reported that she and around 15 friends had dined out at a restaurant in western Morocco, escorted by bodyguards and under police surveillance.
Taking to social media under the hashtag #MadonnaAt60, fans from across the world sent birthday wishes to the pop diva. Since her first, eponymous album came out in 1983, Madonna has sold more than 300 million records, with albums such as “True Blue,” “Like a Prayer” and “Ray of Light” topping music charts around the world.