2021 Edition

Michael Arzur



Category - Reasons for Hope


A word from the photographer: “In the heart of the Verdon Regional Natural Park, I was waiting for the sunrise from the top of the cliffs. As soon as the first rays of sunlight appeared, the vultures took off in search of food. The vulture being mainly a glider, I positioned myself close to a zone of ascending currents because they use them to gain altitude. I was facing the rising sun in order to capture images where the bird, with its very light fawn plumage, would be illuminated and therefore in very warm tones, while the background, mostly against the light, would be very dark and cold. My approach was to sublimate the animal in very soft and warm side lights in opposition to a very dark and cold background, so I would detach the animal in the background by revealing the curves and the silhouette. In the 19th century, the Griffon Vulture, victim of hunting and poisoning, almost disappeared. Since the early 2000s, organizations such as the LPO (Bird Protection League) create reintroduction programs in order to restore a natural balance, essential to biodiversity. The Vulture being a formidable cleaner of nature. Indeed, they feed exclusively on dead animals and thus it avoids the spread of diseases related to the putrefaction of the corpses of wild animals that contaminate the soils and rivers. In order to reconcile humans and animals, these organizations have created partnerships with local breeders, who, until now, when they had losses in their herds, were forced to call on industrial renderers responsible for incinerating the corpses. The price of the operation was high and the environmental impact consequent due to the transport by truck which was done over hundreds of kilometers. Now the breeders entrust the dead animals to the organization which makes them available to the Vultures, so rendering is done naturally and free of charge for the breeder. Therefore, man and animal share the territory and balance is restored.”