Legend of Elk: An interview with Yang Guomei

Yang Guomei, born in 1945, is the honorary president of Yancheng Photographers Association of Jiangsu and was once honored excellent member with good reputation of behavior by China Photographers Association.

He has been striving to photographing elks, to which he has devoted great love, so as to save the endangered species and establish protected reserves. His iconic photos of the animal have won him many awards.

Q: What do you feel about winning the Golden Statue Award for China Photography?

A: First, I’d like to extend my sincere gratitude to my hometown, my family and those nature reserve workers who have been supporting me all the way. Second, I would like to thank elks, the lovely creatures, whom I feel honored to meet with. Finally, I would like to thank my teachers and the time we are in for bringing me to the palace of photographic art. The award should be a new starting point, inspiring me to create more works of excellence.

Q: How do you see documenting wildlife as a kind of art?

A: I try to explore every piece of art during the photoshoot and bring artistic beauty to the creature in order to win broader love and focus from the public.

Q: How did you get attracted by the elks?

A: I was once involved in national projects of ‘Saving Endangered Species’, one of which has something to do with elk preservation. I was in charge of that program and began to make contact with elks. Now, photographing elks for me, means more than just a personal hobby, but monumental responsibility.

Q: Besides elks, what other things do you photograph?

A: I am also engaged in documentary and landscape photography, yet elks are my constant focus.

Q: Will you carry on photographing elks in the future?

A: It’s been 30 years since I first took photos of elks, and I will stick to it. My future plan would be publishing my work in more contests, magazines and newspapers to bring continued attention to wildlife protection.

(All photographs by Yang Guomei.)

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