We are back with another Hahnemühle Photography Month. This year we want to show how diverse photography and fine art printing is and can be. Each week we will focus on selected highlights and topics. During our first week, we will talk about Wildlife and Landscape Photography and how it can follow a mission. Together with our friends from Prints for Wildlife, we will share various videos, images and interviews from participating photographers.
Wildlife photographer William Steel in the interview for our series during the first week of the Hahnemühle Photography Month.
Could you introduce yourself in 3-4 sentences?
“Hi, my name is William Steel. I am a 29-year-old wildlife photographer and tour leader from Botswana.”
How and When did you figure out you wanted to become a Wildlife/Nature photographer?
“From a young age I have been captivated by the wildlife that surrounded me. Raised in Botswana, I was able to explore and discover the beauty of untamed wilderness, and it sparked my love for nature. This passion for the natural world encompasses everything I do, and ultimately defines my photography. Although I only bought my first camera when I was 20, I have always been intrigued by the beauty of the natural world. Photography instantly became my way of creating art from my surroundings. As my hobby blossomed into a purpose, I began to turn my focus to storytelling. I have become obsessed with documenting the intertwined lives of the wildlife around me ever since.
I believe that powerful photography is a combination of beauty and intrigue. I have always tried to focus on these aspects regardless of the subject that I am photographing. I hope to highlight the art in unexpected places, and as a result, create images that encapsulate the subject’s unique self. My goal is to capture emotion, and with that, tell a story. Through my photography, I hope to inspire in others the same love I have for wildlife, inspiring and educating the future protectors of our fragile natural world.”
Why do you print your images?
“In a digital world, printing, more than ever, is the true final step in the artistic process. Testing, refining, and then feeling the image come back to life on paper, as a moment encapsulated in time, is truly a breathtaking journey. To be able to share an incredible wildlife experience with a client on the other side of the world is an absolutely amazing feeling. Bringing joy to others through the medium of print is a wonderful way to celebrate the wonders of nature.
In May 2021 I released my signature series catalogue. A collection of my favourite fine art prints from 2010-2020. Each image was meticulously selected to meet the highest of print standard. A dedication of patience, care, love, and passion, condensed into just 40 fine art photographs. More than just a portfolio, the signature series is the epitome of what drives my love for photographing the natural world. The reason I waited over a decade before putting together a print catalogue, was not only because I wanted to release a portfolio of work that I am truly proud of, but also a selection of images that meet my high standard for printing. This is my wild perspective, with each and every image carefully selected for its unique view of the world. (…)”
When it comes to the paper choice – why did you go for Hahnemühle?
“After seven years of testing and trialing nearly every available fine art paper, I am so happy with the final results that I get from Hahnemühle Foto Rag Fine Art Paper (308Gm). Hahnemühle has been making paper for more than 400 years, and there is a reason that their papers are revered the world over.
Hahnemühle Photo Rag® is one of the world’s most popular papers and the valued all-rounder for high quality FineArt printing. The white cotton artist’s paper, with its characteristic, wonderfully soft feel, boasts a three-dimensional appearance and impressive pictorial depth. Combined with the matt premium inkjet coating, this paper produces outstanding prints that feature brilliant colours, deep blacks, striking contrasts and perfect reproduction of detail. Something I find imperative to making an image come alive on paper. This acid and lignin-free classic meets the most exacting requirements for age resistance and is specially designed for FineArt applications. Hahnemühle Photo Rag is the ideal combination of structure, print quality and weight.
I am always looking for ways to make the printing process more eco-friendly, and as a result, I am thrilled to now be able to offer my clients Hahnemühle’s ecologically sourced natural line of papers going forward!”
Why do you support Prints for Wildlife with your work and why do you think the cause is important?
“I have always aspired to align myself with companies that share my desire to help make a difference. With the combined collective effort of photographers from across the globe, I believe that we can inspire people to love and subsequently protect our natural world, while at the same time raising money to directly fund the protection of wildlife and local communities. As a wildlife photographer, I owe it to my subjects to take on the role of conserving and giving back.”
Prints for Wildlife is a fundraiser aiming to ensure protected areas continue to deliver benefits to people and wildlife during the COVID pandemic. More than 170 wildlife photographers, including renown international and emerging and local wildlife photogrpahers, have come together to mobilise needed support for one cause: to continue the protection of vital landscapes in Africa. The fundraiser runs from 11 July to 11 August 2021. All funds collected via the print sale go directly to conservation non-profit African Parks. The price per print is 100 USA excluding shipping. 100% of the proceeds (after printing and handling) will be donated to African Parks. All prints are printed on our sustainable Natural Line Paper Hahnemühle Hemp from our Digital FineArt Collection.
Make sure to check out the images William donated to the Prints for Wildlife fundraiser.