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Michel Ghatan

(Swiss, b.1975)

Awaken

Ruaha, Tanzania, 2014
archival pigment print on Hahnemühle paper
36x 24 in. / 48 x 36 in. / 60 x 40 in. (paper size)
signed and numbered

 

**Please note these photographs are printed to order and will take between 4-6 weeks to be ready.**

Direct from the artist’s studio

All photographs are signed and numbered and accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the photographer.

“Ruaha National Park is for me the Serengeti and more. Relatively unknown, this vast wilderness is the largest park in Tanzania but also the most difficult to access. The ecosystem is so diverse it contains open plains, woodland forests, spiky baobabs and rolling hills separated by the Great Ruaha River and its valley. Ruaha in the dry season is a paradise for predator aficionados like me.

A friend of mine asked me recently if I “planted” my camera in order to take this picture. I was very pleased to answer No! It would have been too easy and less fun. I believe the camera to be the extension of my eye and should therefore never be planted but rather be part of my body. It is a magnificent tool invented to capture a brief moment in life that will last forever. As always on safari, safety is crucial and I respect the wildlife. I feel very lucky to have met my guide and done all my east African safaris with him. His knowledge and professionalism is second to none. On this occasion, we decided to spice things up and used a simple trick.

We observed this big male lion sleeping for a while. The night before he devoured a buffalo carcass and his belly was popping out clearly satisfied. Exhausted by his feast, he went on to sleep for a very long time and wasn’t giving me anything. After a few hours, I decided to open the door of the jeep from a safe distance and every 10 minutes we would move the vehicle a few meters closer, always leaving the engine on. I must have been 2-3 meters from him now with the door still wide open and we switched the engine off but still keeping a close eye on him. The heat was at its peak as it often is the case during October in Ruaha.

My guide and I looked at each other in agreement; he switched on the engine, awakening the giant, I clicked the shutter.” - Michel Ghatan

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