About the Photographer

Johannes Fehrle was born in Freiburg, South-Western Germany, in 1981. While completing an M.A. in English and History in Freiburg and Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada, between 2001 to 2007, he became ever more serious about photography. His focus lies on nature, travel and people photography.
His travels in pursuit of wild places and animals, as well as foreign cultures have taken him to countless destinations throughout Germany, Europe, North America, and to Africa and Southeast Asia. His photos have been published in a number of magazines and have been exhibited in Freiburg and Stuttgart, Germany. The focus of his photographic work lies on the wildlife and landscapes of North America. Since January 2006, he works digitally exclusively.
After living in Vancouver, Canada for 2 years, he currently lives in Germany.

Photographer's Statement: Ethics and Nature Photography

I believe that nature photography implies, and indeed should imply, a contract between an artist and his or her audience. Under this contract the audience reasonably assumes that nature photography, at least when it is marketed as nature photography, bears a resemblance to nature, representing what a photographer actually saw and how they saw it, even if this vision of necessity shows only a segment of reality the photographer liked, is changed through use of camera, lens choice, exposure and so on.
I try to create the best image possible (striving for art if you will). Like all photographs my images will always reflect a specific interpretation of the world rather than an entirely objective mirror of reality, which would be both impossible and boring. Nevertheless, I try to honor the contract of nature photography by not using techniques either in camera or in the computer which I and others consider "deceitful." While some of my colleagues defend their use of heavy filtration, double exposures, Photoshop artistry or other manipulations in their images, with the legitimacy of art, while still marketing themselves as nature photographers, the only techniques I will use are those widely accepted in the nature photography community. Specifically I will use polarizing filters, graduated and non-graduated neutral density filters in camera, and I will do slight adjustments of tonal values, saturation and sharpening in post-processing, techniques which reflect the unfinished nature of a RAW image and which are deemed permissible at major nature photo contest like the BBC and European Wildlife Photographer of the Year competitions.

Even more important is the issue of ethics in wildlife photography. As a vegan and strong believer in animal rights I value my animal subjects over any opportunity I might have to get an unusual picture. If I feel that I make an animal uncomfortable, am too close to a nest, might frighten or otherwise change an animal's behavior I will move away.
I am highly critical of zoos and I despise game farms. I have never photographed on a game farm and never will; my goal in my photography is to represent a truthful image of reality to the viewer, my goal in life is to cause as little pain to animals as possible; game farms and zoos are incompatible with both. I am also critical of feeding animals to obtain their images.
This being said, I have in the past on one or two occasions taken images in a zoo and have on one occasion taken images of animals that were fed to lure them to a blind for observation and photography. While I will no longer photograph in zoos, I will in the near future likely photograph in an animal shelter. Whenever I show them, images of animals that were not wild and free are labeled as "captive", images that were taken by feeding or methods which otherwise interfered with an animal’s natural habitat are labeled as "controlled."

All unlabeled images are of wild, unrestrained animals, whose behavior I have in no way changed other than through my presence behind the camera.

© 2007 - 2014