STEVE BLOOMSteve Bloom is a writer and a photographic artist who specialises inevocative images of the living world. He is most famous for his wildlife photography that shows the spirit of the wild in their environments, and also for his books about Africa and wildlife.
Style & SubjectBorn in South Africa in 1953, he first used the camera to document life in South Africa during the apartheid years.In the early nineties, during a safari holiday, he began photographing animals, and within a short time he had swapped his established city career for the precarious life of an international travelling photographer. Steve Bloom’s concern for the environment is strongly evident in his wildlife images. He strives to capture the animal’s spirit, and blur the lines separating different species. His photographs of people reveal a compassionate understanding of his subjects, evident in his books Living Africa and Trading Places: The Merchants of Nairobi.
Contribution to PhotographySteve Bloom frequently reinvents his creative approach to his work. In the 1970s he pioneered the process of morphing images into each other, long before such techniques became popular on the computer. His work in Apartheid South Africa, poignant and edgy, reveals the alienation of a country on the cusp of change; placing Bloom among the select few photographers who caught the mood of the time. He was exiled from South Africa for thirteen years as a result of those photographs, and settled in the UK in 1977. In 1980 he converted monochrome pictures of Britains holiday camps into highly saturated colour images which were printed in layers as unique Cibachromes and exhibited in Londons Photographers Gallery.
Influence and ChangeHis venture into animal photography was a continuation of his exploration of different genres of photography, and it struck a chord with the general public. His goal was to use images to communicate with the masses, and take photography exhibitions outside galleries. This was done in spectacular fashion with the publication of Untamed in ten languages for its first edition, and the staging of major outdoor exhibitions called Spirit of the Wild. The exhibition has been seen by millions of people in eleven European cities. Steve Bloom’s free outdoor exhibitions, promoting environmental issues, are major events staged in conjunction with city authorities, and attract visitor numbers in the millions.
How he makes a livingSteve earns his living by winning international awards for his work, including The Power of Photography Award, The Golden Eye of Russia, and Lucie Awards. Numerous magazine publishers such as Life, Time, Terre Sauvage, National Geographic, Geo, Airone, and Geographic, as well as many photographic publications, have featured his pictures. His own books have been published internationally in over seventy editions.In addition, he has many exhibitions and also is a speaker that has lectured at venues such as the Edinburgh Book Festival, Oxford Literary Festival, The Guardian and The Royal Geographical Society.
Special TechniquesAerial photography: Steve Bloom likes Motion photography: A slow shutterto take aerial pictures of animals when speed might be used to create thisthe sun is at a low angle, resulting in blurred effect, with the animal lookinglong cast shadows. This allows a clear like its moving through multiple frames.silhouette of the animals to be seen Steve might have used multiple imageseven though it is a bird’s eye view. and played with opacity and superimposition to achieve this effect.
Distinguishing TraitsJust like any other wildlife photographer, Steve Bloom’s photos show a deepunderstanding of the animals and their interaction in the environment. Butwhat really makes his pictures stand out are the way he portrays the rawimagery of what exactly happens during conflicts in the wildlife, the shockingreality that gives a huge impact.
The emotional impact of imagining you are the lone elephant drinking from thesame pool of water as a whole other group of lions is very frightening. Stevecropped the huge stature of the elephant to minimize the power of the elephant,while keeping its single trunk, the most distinguishing trait of the elephant.
This shot gives a feeling of suspension in the air with this single frame out ofthe many subtle movements in their moment of conflict. Every other frame inthis shot seems to have converged into this single frame and you can tell thewhole scene of the upper eagle trying to claw the eagle below.
Another shocking frame that captures the stark reality of a zebra fighting forits life against the clamping jaw of a crocodile. Even though the majority of theanimals are submerged under the water, enough can be seen above watersuch that what is happening can be read.
In this photo, Steve Bloom has successfully captured the motion blur of thewater droplets whilst still keeping the penguin largely in focus. There is justthe right amount of details and other events going on in the background,without causing too much distraction from the main focus, the penguin.
In this photo, Steve Bloom has focused on the horns of the beasts, at the costof their body and faces. But I feel that this was a good choice of focus as theshapes of the horns are the really unique parts of the beasts and only onebody of the beast is needed for the information to be filled in the otherbeasts. The fog and water vapour adds interesting variations in the horns too.
ConclusionThe wildlife photography of Steve Bloom has really opened up my eyes tohow impactful a wildlife photo can be if one captures the raw image of reality,not shying away from the harsh reality of prey being stalked and hunted downin various situations.I really admire Steve Bloom’s excellence in cutting out elements in the framethat helps to highlight what he is trying to express in a photo, whilst keepingenough of various elements in a good mixture