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After a very successful career in the advertising world, Marsel van Oosten drastically changed course. A passion for wildlife photography became his specialty and Marsel is now a renowned nature photographer. His photographs have been awarded prestigious prizes such as Wildlife Photographer of the Year en Travel Photographer of the Year. He is known for his masterful sense of perspective, composition, lighting and use of color. Text: Larissa Schaule Jullens
Image: Marsel van Oosten

The Lone Tuareg

“I always get mixed feelings about this photo. On the one hand, this is exactly what I am always looking for in my photography: a beautiful wide landscape with a small human or animal element to show the grandeur of nature and the insignificance of everything that lives in it. I like simple compositions with strong shapes and graphic lines. Dune landscapes are perfect for this. I traveled for weeks in the Sahara of Libya and since then this beautiful country is in my personal top 3 of countries where I would like to go back. Given the extremely dangerous situation there, this is unfortunately not possible. For me, this photo is mainly a reminder of the fact that humans are a warlike species. The vast majority of countries in Africa are currently not safe enough to travel through because there is a struggle for power. It really makes me despondent to realize that humans are able to land a space vehicle on an asteroid 320 million miles from Earth, but are bashing each other's brains out because the other believes in the wrong invisible supreme being.”

Mother & Daughter

“The tiger is one of the most famous endangered species. There are fewer than 4.000 tigers left in the wild, mainly in India. By comparison, there are more tigers in captivity in the state of Texas in the US. Poaching is the biggest threat to the tiger because there is a high demand for tiger parts in China and Vietnam. There, all kinds of medical miracle properties are attributed to just about every part of the tiger. That belief lacks any scientific foundation and is purely based on superstition and tradition. Because there are few tigers left, the price for remedies that contain tigers continues to rise. That makes the tiger even more attractive to organized crime that sends poachers to kill tigers. Corrupt local governments often help smuggle the tigers out of the country. About 20 years ago things looked much bleaker than they do now. A South African conservationist then attempted to introduce a population of wild tigers to Africa. The idea was that if things went completely wrong in India, there would at least be a population living on another continent. This project has now become a huge success and I am a big supporter of these kinds of out-of-the-box ideas to save animals from extinction. By the way, tigers, lions, leopards and cheetahs once lived in India at the same time, so it's not that strange.”

The Golden Couple

“I have a passion for nature and unfortunately it is increasingly threatened by humans. Climate change, deforestation, pollution, urbanization, poaching, etc. Through my photography I try to show the beauty of nature in a positive and inspiring way, trying to make people realize that this is all at stake. Everyone now knows that rhinos and tigers are endangered species, but what most people don't know is that more than 30.000 species are threatened with extinction. Like these golden snub-nosed monkeys I photographed in China. Nature conservation stands or falls with awareness of the problem. When I first showed my photos of this endangered monkey species, hardly anyone knew of their existence. That has now completely changed: with this photo I won the title in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards. This image has traveled all over the world and I have it with me The world goes on can talk about. Due to the sudden increase in fame and popularity of this species, the Chinese government has decided to close the area to tourism. In that respect, this photo has done its job.”

Please here a look at Marsel van Oosten's website.