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Magazine Of The Nikon World

Nikon Owner Issue 22

Raging Bull (Elephant)

by Paul Joynson-Hicks

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Mud, mud, glorious mud; nothing quite like it for soothing the pent-up emotions of a young bull elephant! What do you do when there is a distinct lack of it? Ask Paul Joynson-Hicks!

Full-time professional photographer Paul Joynson-Hicks has made his life in Africa, a continent of vast savannahs, endless deserts, and impenetrable rain forests. He is involved in several charitable projects, and firmly believes that it is vital to help African communities in any way possible. In the article below he recounts a formidable tale of life in the fast lane of the African jungle.

My first camera was one of those fabulous things, a sort of long thin affair; I loved it and pursued photography in school. My first SLR was a Praktica, which was great fun. Once I left school I immediately started working as an assistant to a great fashion and beauty photographer called Angelo Valentino. It was about this time I got my first Nikon, an F-801.

It was the feel and look of the Nikon that grabbed me initially. Nikons just have the right shape. Over the years I have happily worked to death a variety of fabulous bodies; F-801, FM2 (for fun), F3, the absolutely Magnificent F4 and the glorious F5. Although I am now using a D2x, the transition from film to digital was torturous. I held off for as long as I could, but my clients here in Dar started to use my main competitor as he had got himself a digital kit, so I needed to change tack. I am now much happier with the D2x.

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I originally left the UK to go to Uganda to do a travel photography book on the country. Once I had completed that, I ended up staying in Uganda doing some commercial photography work for a few years. In 1997 I moved from Uganda to Tanzania to do another travel photography book. The country is stunningly beautiful and its geography so diverse that you could never get bored. The people are amazing and have a lot to teach us. One of the best things about living out here, apart from being next to the Indian Ocean, is the massive diversity of my work. One week I could be shooting a billboard campaign for a mobile phone company, the next week doing a reportage shoot in a refugee camp for the UN, another week shooting a safari camp in the Serengeti. One of the most creatively interesting projects I have worked on was a shoot for a safari company called 'Nomad Tanzania'. We had a very loose brief and a very imaginative team on the shoot. We ended up creating mermaids, covering a man in mud and putting him up a tree, shooting game and creating Moon Man! Not your average safari shoot.