Gael R. Vande weghe, a 30-year-old Rwandan photographer, looked deep into Rwanda’s nature and captured some of the most intricate aspects of the country’s natural beauty.
He showcases his artistry work in a photo exhibition dubbed, ‘Nature Illuminated.’ It is the first ever show of quality by a professional Rwandan photographer in Kigali.
On Wednesday June 29th to 30th, 2011, several guests from Rwanda’s tourism fraternity, environmentalists, creative, advertising and marketing firms, gathered at Shokola Lite, Kacyiru, to see firsthand images of Rwanda’s natural biodiversity: On July 1st the exhibition which, will run through July, was opened for public viewing and sales.
The photographer’s 11 years of experience and professional eye, captivates sections of Rwanda’s beautiful nature that are easily ignored in the countryside.
Over a period of two years, 25 images of Rwanda’s flora and fauna were taken from Nyungwe Forest, Akagera National Park, Kibuye, Mt. Muhavura in Ruhengeri and Lake Muhazi.
Vande weghe says he chose to do photography in nature because conservation is best done through communication and the easiest way to pass this message, is through photos.
“When people see something pretty they want to know more about it and that is how they might try to save it. Photos are an important way of communication in the environmental world,” he says.
With a background in Biology working in nature conservation, Vande weghe says, photography is a tool he uses in his job to record things.
“I become a good photographer because I’m a good biologist and, I became a good biologist because I’m a good photographer. The two things will continue hand in hand and this is just the beginning,” he adds.
Vande weghe’s work is a symbol of quality and clarity to detail.
He says: “Sometimes quality is feasible locally, even when we don’t always have access to fancier equipment and labs like those in oversees countries but, we can do very decent work with what we have. If you put your heart into it, at times, you can do wonders with very little.”
He explains that, the focus of the exhibition is to show that beauty in Rwanda goes beyond what is already known.
“There is always more to learn, it never ends. We know we have the Gorillas, Kibuye islands, Nyungwe forest; that’s great but what more is there?
If you spend extra time, an extra hour or day in nature, you will see something new that you have never seen before.
“It is important to pay attention to details because the sum of all details makes everything grandiose,” Vande weghe explains.
His contribution to the tourism sector is to, “bring forth knowledge about Rwanda’s nature”—something he says he has experienced since he was born.
“We need more people to come to Rwanda and experience the biodiversity of Rwanda.”
Gael R. Vande weghe is also the Managing Director of Illume Creative Studio (exhibition organizers), a collective of experts in the arts, digital media, tourism and environmental communication who specialize in concept development.