Growing up in London, Gordon Longmead would run away from school to walk in the country to view the wildlife, a passion that eventually germinated into a flourishing nature photography career.
The now reigning chairman of the People’s Photographic Society has traversed all the six continents in a spirited pursuit to capture awe-inspiring nature pictures, especially that of cats such as leopards, cheetahs, jaguars and lions. Most of these have been exhibited or sold out at the respective exhibitions he has attended over the last 10 years in London. His works also feature in the World Image Magazine, a UK based photography publication.
The 65 year old is in the country to spearhead a photo exhibition aimed at raising funds for Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary from the November 18 to 20. Located within 3 hours drive from Kampala-off-Gulu highway in Nakasongola, Ziwa is faced with a financial blow which could frustrate its mission to conserve and protect the 15 rhinos habituated in it.
According to the executive director of the Rhino Fund Uganda, Angie Genade, the center is in a crucial need for at least $150,000. The money is to be used in the establishment of systems and structures that will boost its operations. Such include a clinic where staff injured during operations can be treated, a patrol car, and road rehabilitation among others.
"Most pressing of the needs is the recruitment of 20 more staff to heighten the efforts of the current 65 who foresee the anti-poaching surveillance of the 7000 hectare savannah park." Says Genade
During the three-day event which will be hosted at Protea Hotel Kampala, Longmead’s works will be featuring alongside that of many powerhouse photographers from within and outside Uganda inclusive of South Africa’s Tom Coetzee, UKs Scot Hurd, and Sweden’s Peter Hogel. Hogel is a renowned Ugandan based nature photographer with a particular interest in sceneries and insects. His organisation the, World Image Magazine and Peoples Photographic society, has members all over the world including Nambia, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
Ziwa realizes approximately $360,000 annually from donations and touristic visits. The money is used to bill up for all sustainability costs such as salaries, treatment of injured rhinos, and maintenance of the park among others.
Hogel observes that this is very limiting as they are a target for rhino poaching mafia that is so organized, wealthy and so well protected by their legal aid. It is against this background that the idea of the exhibition was birthed.
Accordingly, Eric Omondi of Events 256, the organizer of the event says the artists will be selling their works with the intent of raising funds for the game reserve. Entrance to the event which will be a round off will a fund raising dinner on the November 20 is free for all.
"The event will also be used to showcase Uganda’s nature with the intent of influencing many into exploring the country’s respective nature attractions, especially national parks." Omondi clarifies