We are very pleased and thank­full to intro­duce to you the new ambassador of BOS Germany. Jaya­pra­kash Bojan won the National Geogra­phic Nature Photo­grapher of the Year in 2017 with the picture of a male oran­gutan stan­ding in a river. His pictures are well known to oran­gutan-friends all around the world.
In the inter­view, he talks about his passion, what impresses him and how his haun­ting oran­gutan pictures were created.

Welcome in the family of BOS. Thank you for your commit­ment for the oran­gutans. With your pictures you touch many people and make them aware of the situa­tion of the criti­cally endan­gered primates. Now you are an ambassador for BOS Germany. What does that mean to you? 

I AM very EXCITED AND HUMBLED at the same time to be asked to repre­sent BOS Germany as an ambassador. It’s an honor! Over the last few years, I have been trying to influence and educate people with my photo stories on the oran­gutans, their disap­pearing rain­fo­rests and their chal­lenges. I think with this part­ner­ship with BOS, which is the largest and most impactful oran­gutan conser­va­tion orga­niza­tion, I can now make a bigger impact with my pictures and stories and take it to a larger audi­ence across the world.


In 2017 National Geogra­phic awarded you for the picture of a domi­nant male oran­gutan with the prize Photo­grapher of the year. What is the story behind this picture? 

I fell in love with primates, speci­ally the oran­gutan, when I first saw them in a zoo in Singa­pore. That was the trigger for me to travel to Borneo to see them initi­ally. In late 2016 I was in Kali­mantan sear­ching for oran­gutans from a boat on the river. One morning I met one of the local rangers who told me he had seen a male often ventu­ring into deep waters, which was very unusual for oran­gutans since they are prima­rily arbo­real. With their help I spent days sear­ching and waiting to see the oran­gutan in the river and one fine morning it all happened. And the rest was history. Both National geogra­phic and BBC published my series. If you have seen the pictures you would know what I am talking about.


You are travel­ling around the world, shoo­ting very inten­sive photos of wild­life and animals in remote places. But you have a special link to oran­gutans. Why? What is the special bond between you and the red primates? Why are they fasci­na­ting you? 

In general, I love primates and my love affair with the red apes happened when I was in a river neck deep in water with my camera and a male oran­gutan walking with his hand up in the air in the croco­dile infested waters. While I tried my best to compose some pictures that could trans­late my feelings at that moment in the river with that oran­gutan, I don’t think I have the words to express how I felt. It was a godly expe­ri­ence! They are so much like us in their beha­vior if you have watched them and they are extre­mely sensi­tive and intel­li­gent. Some­times when I am taking pictures, I talk to them like I am spea­king to another human. I know it sounds silly but that‘s just me. 


What must be done to help the orangutans? 

Over the years we have lost about 100.000 or may be more oran­gutans to habitat loss and illegal wild­life trade. I have seen Borneo before and after big forest fires and it hurts to see their homes destroyed. For me it’s criti­cally important to save the lowland rain­fo­rests from being destroyed, in order to save the oran­gutans and the thou­sands of other species of flora and fauna that can only be found in Borneo. Conser­va­tion is not possible without the local govern­ment support and more importantly without the invol­vement of local villages and commu­ni­ties. The last aspect is funds. That’s key in today’s situa­tion. It’s impos­sible to do large scale conser­va­tion without money and I want to take this oppor­tu­nity to thank people across the world who have always gene­rously supported conser­va­tion over the years.

So that people can get to know you better: How did you become a photographer? 

I grew up in the hills in Nilgiris, Tamil­nadu, India surrounded by a lot of wild­life. I started photo­graphy as a hobby a decade ago and one day a few years ago decided to quit my 18-year corpo­rate journey to pursue my passion for nature, wild­life and photo­graphy. I am now a full­time photo­grapher and spend most of my time in shoo­ting conser­va­tion and envi­ron­ment related photo stories. I also teach photo­graphy and speak at schools and insti­tu­tions to encou­rage people to fall in love with wild­life and care for them. 


Why did you decide to dedi­cate yourself to nature photography? 

When I started my journey it was all about taking beau­tiful pictures of ever­y­thing I saw but over a period of time as I travelled more, I felt more at home with nature and just being out there in the wild made me happy and content. Now I am more focused on story telling that can make a posi­tive impact to nature and wild­life and it’s no longer about just taking beau­tiful pictures. 

What is your favo­rite moment as a photographer? 

One of my favo­rite moments has been watching and photo­gra­phing an Oran­gutan mother and her newborn baby and their rela­ti­onship. It’s a divine and unfor­gettable experience. 

What is your biggest inspiration? 

As a photo­grapher I get a lot of visi­bi­lity because people across the world get to see my photo stories through social media, exhi­bi­tions and other chan­nels. But the true heroes are those in the front line who are out there day in and day out slog­ging it out to save the forest and the species. There are so many people and inspi­ring stories from people I have met in the field who are my inspi­ra­tions. For example, I met this guy in Borneo who has knife slashes all over his body because he was fighting the logging mafia from destroying the forests. There are many unsung heroes the world has not seen or heard off. 


As a nature photo­grapher you have traveled all over the world and have faced lots of envi­ron­mental issues. What makes you sad and what gives you hope? 

It makes me sad to see forests, rivers and oceans being destroyed across the world but I am opti­mi­stic that we can still save what’s left of this beau­tiful world. Along my journey I meet so many wonderful people who still care for the earth and so many unsung heroes who are fighting to save our forest, animals, rivers and oceans. That makes me hopeful. 

What is your next project? 

South east Asia has some of the most endan­gered primates in the world. While I continue to focus on oran­gutans and envi­ron­ment stories, I am also working on a book on primates of south east Asia. So many more primates to find and photo­graph before I can publish.