The annual Wild Shots wildlife photography conference, founded in 2012, is now the foremost gathering of top wildlife photographers in Africa, where the power of photography to educate, inspire and conserve is discussed.
Canon South Africa, in its commitment to inspire a passion for photography amongst the youth and aspiring photographers, has sponsored four Canon EOS 1300D cameras to the Wild Shots Outreach Programme which teaches the art of wildlife photography to underprivileged children living on the edge of the Kruger National Park.
The cameras are already being put to excellent use, with the first youngsters to use them during a Wild Shots Outreach Course at Nhlengelo School in Acornhoek, Mpumalanga reveling at the opportunity to get to grips with the functionality. Canon South Africa also sponsored 100 goody bags which will be distributed amongst all the children attending the Wild Shots Outreach programme.
‘Canon South Africa has long been committed to cultivating and nurturing the talents of emerging photographers in South Africa. We need to harness the interest and enthusiasm for photography amongst our youth if we are to ensure a succession of skilled and passionate photographers into the future. The Wild Shots Outreach Programme certainly aligns with our commitment to the development of aspiring photographers in South Africa; specifically in the field of wildlife photography,’ said Michelle Janse van Vuuren, marketing manager of Canon SA.
As the first centralised and dedicated event of its kind, Wild Shots also invites amateurs to come and learn from, and be inspired by, the best in the business. Despite running the conference for six years, Wild Shots is still seeking a South African wildlife photographer of colour to join the speakers’ line-up. For three years, Wild Shots has been running the Outreach Programme which educates under-privileged children in the art of wildlife photography and its impact on conservation.
So far, the programme has reached 283 students through 31 courses. The students are taught photography in a series of practical workshops, before going on a game drive to put what they have learned into practice. This is the first time the students, despite living on the edge of Kruger National Park, have ever had the opportunity to see their wildlife heritage. Learners have also attended the Wild Shots Conference and an exhibition of their photographic work is created to showcase the best images and stories behind the images.
As a nonprofit organisation, Wild Shots Outreach relies heavily on the sponsorship and support it receives from the public and likeminded companies in order to continue the Outreach Programme.
‘We are thrilled with our new Canon cameras. The first learners to use them loved experimenting with the great functionality and the results were fantastic. It is certainly rewarding to be able to teach our young learners using updated camera technologies,’ said Mike Kendrick who founded and manages the programme.