Ami Vitale on CBS Sunday Morning

Ami was honored to have recently been featured on the program CBS Sunday Morning in the segment, “Travel photographers on capturing images close to home.

During the pandemic, photographers who are used to working in exotic locations have been focusing on more local subject matter, opening up new avenues of creativity. Correspondent Rita Braver talks with Ami Vitale, whose work frequently appears in National Geographic magazine, and lifestyle photographer Gray Malin, about how the lockdown forced them both to reach a new understanding of their work – and their purpose.

Some of the work included in the broadcast included Cows in the Mist, Kamera and Kilifi Under the Umbrella, Lekupania and Giraffe, Yeye in the MistWellGujarat Montana Mane and Mountains, and The Last Goodbye.

Ami Vitale Wins 2021 World Press Photo Award

My photograph of a Rothschild’s giraffe being rescued from Longicharo Island in western Kenya’s Lake Baringo has been honored with the First Place Award in the 2021 World Press Photo Nature Category. I am incredibly grateful to the people at Save Giraffes Now for giving me the opportunity to tell this story and to Kenya Wildlife Service and Ruko Conservancy for the hard work they do each and every day to restore this iconic species.

A HUGE congratulations to my fellow honorees in the contest and in the nature category Carlton Ward Jr., Jaime Culebras, Ezra Acayan, Jasper Doest & Luis Tato. You all are doing such powerful, inspiring work and I am humbled to be mentioned in the same sentence with you all.

In this photo, Pasaka, a younger Rothschild’s (Nubian) giraffe, is blindfolded and rescued from Longicharo Island, in western Kenya’s Lake Baringo, on a makeshift raft. Longicharo Island was once a peninsula, but rising water levels in Lake Baringo turned it into an island. Particularly heavy rainfall in 2019 caused further floods, stranding nine giraffes.

Rothschild’s giraffes are a subspecies of the northern giraffe, and are classified as endangered. The giraffe is the world’s tallest land mammal and the Rothschild’s giraffe is one of the loftiest subspecies, growing up to six meters in height.

The local community worked with conservationists from the Save Giraffes Now, Kenya Wildlife Service and Northern Rangelands Trust to build the barge and transport the marooned animals to a sanctuary in the Ruko conservancy on the shores of the lake. The rains had also led to an abundance of food on the island, so edible treats could not be used to entice the giraffes onto the barge.

Instead, the giraffes had to be tranquilized, which is a dangerous procedure given their anatomy, as they are at risk of choking on their own saliva, and changes in blood pressure can cause brain damage. A vet was on hand to immediately counteract the drug; the animals were then hooded and led onto the barge with guide ropes.

Learn more, including how to help at https://savegiraffesnow.org/

First-Edition Scarf Sale to Benefit the BioRescue Project

I am pleased to share that my photo, “Dancer” is a part of the exclusive new Athena Collection of scarves from InFocus Canada. The series features some of North America’s most outstanding female photographers. Beautiful photography, elegant fashionable scarves, limited first edition, support of charity, sustainably and ethically produced.

The photo is of a traditional dancer from Udaipur, India inside a haveli. When I saw her twirling inside the magnificent architecture of the Rajasthan state, I was struck by her poetry. She too is one of the most powerful storytellers. Her vocabulary is based on gestures, movement, and expression. My hope is that the photo becomes a symbol of all the love, color, richness, and stories we all share.

Each scarf is produced from a custom milled fabric made from 100% recycled plastic and diverts 3 bottles from the waste stream. They are soft and flowy and feel beautiful around your neck. Only 200 scarves have been produced in this print as part of a First Edition. All scarves are sustainably produced and are developed and manufactured employing the highest ethical production standards.

10% of the sale price of each of my ‘Dancer’ scarves is donated to the BioRescue Project, an international project aiming to save the northern white rhino from extinction by developing methods of assisted reproduction and stem cell research under the leadership of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW).

Purchase yours and see all the other available scarves from photographic luminaries Viktoria Haack, Michelle Valberg, Melissa Groo, Kristi Odom, Deanne Fitzmaurice and Clare Hodgetts at InFocus Canada.

Art for Conservation

I am excited to share this collaboration with the extraordinary artist Mantra, my wonderful friends at both Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, Sarara Camp and National Geographic, who conspired to make this wild dream into a reality! For many years, I have been using photography and filmmaking to tell the powerful stories of this community in northern Kenya. I wanted to use other mediums and think about ways to inspire creativity and pride around protecting our planet and the creatures we coexist with.

Reteti is the home of the first indigenous owned and run elephant sanctuary in Africa. Rock Paintings are the oldest form of storytelling. The Samburu elders living here guided us to a place that holds powerful symbolism. THIS ROCK was once used by elephant poachers as a place to hide but now, it is a place for community members, elders and visitors to gather. Mantra is the extraordinary artist who brought my two dimensional photo of a wild elephant from Namunyak to life using water based paints. My concept was to create something from nature that was meaningful and ephemeral. The painting will not last forever, but the memory of what has been created in this community will always live on.

Mantra is a self taught painter who has been painting in the streets since 2008. I was honored that he agreed to bring his genius talent and come to Namunyak for this wild idea. The team at Sarara Camp rallied together with friends at Reteti to build scaffolding and Mantra painted this photo free style in one day. Miracles can happen and we can all do more to make sure our children experience the beauty and wonder of this world.

I am working on another project and looking for financial support. Please email me at ami@amivitale.com if you are interested in helping me with more initiatives to bring together stories, art and conservation. I believe these stories and art shape us and can change the way we see each other. I invite you to be a part of it.

“The Last Goodbye” Nominated for the Natural History Museum’s People’s Choice Award

I am honored to learn that the image of Joseph Wachira saying goodbye to Sudan, the last male northern white rhino on the planet, at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, has been nominated in the prestigious Natural History Museum’s People’s Choice Award. It is my hope that this nomination will bring attention to the incredible work of Jojo Wachira and all the people at Ol Pejeta and beyond who have selflessly committed their lives to helping protect and create awareness on the importance of wildlife and habit.

Voting ends this Tuesday, Feb. 2. Please vote now here.

My hope is that the award can bring attention to the plight of the northern white rhinos, all endangered wildlife and funding to organizations like the Biorescue ProjectSafari Park Dvůr Králové & Ol Pejeta Conservancy. This moment can be a powerful catalyst to awareness of the reality of this mass extinction we are all facing.

Over the past year, scientists from the Biorescue Project have created 5 northern white rhino embryos which are awaiting implantation in a southern white rhino surrogate to try to rescue this species from extinction.

I am also making this photograph available as part of a flash print sale. 100% of net proceeds will be given directly to the keepers who care for Fatu and Najin, the last two northern white rhinos on the planet. Purchase your copy here.

Covid Upends a Rural Hospital, Where Staff Know All the Patients

The Crow reservation in Montana has one of the nation’s worst recent outbreaks—and hospital staff are working to save their own family and friends

I am humbled to have been entrusted to help tell this powerful and important story with the thoughtful Dan Frosch for the Wall Street Journal. Please spend some time with it. See the full story here.

Lavazza 2021 Calendar: The New Humanity

I am incredibly honored to be partnered again for the Lavazza 2021 Calendar which has just launched! The theme this year is called ‘The New Humanity’ which asks us to work for a better world that is sustainable and just for all of us. Each photo had a meaning and a message. My message was that the environment has always been, and will always be, a social justice issue. We are all connected to one another and the outcome to every single story of humanity is always dependent on nature. The project aims to spread hope, bringing it where it is most needed.

My work was featured alongside these legendary photographers: Simone Bramante, Martha Cooper, Charlie Davoli, Carolyn Drake, Joey L., David LaChapelle, Christy Lee Rogers, Steve McCurry, Eugenio Recuenco, Denis Rouvre and Martin Schoeller.

Explore this powerful photography and the messages behind each image now at calendar.lavazza.com

Portfolio Reviews with Ami Vitale

Ami Vitale is an experienced teacher and believes in the importance of helping emerging photographers develop their talent and offers insightful, honest advice. Ami offers one-hour, one-on-one virtual portfolio reviews where she discusses how you find the best picture and edit it into a cohesive story.

Book your review today at amivitale.com/product/portfolio-review/

Win a Trip to Ol Pejeta with Ami Vitale

Two years ago, Sudan, the last male northern white rhino died, surrounded by the people who loved and protected him. If there is meaning in his passing, it’s that all hope is not lost. Planet Earth is the only home we have and without rhinos and elephants and other wildlife, we suffer much more than loss of ecosystem health. We suffer a loss of imagination, a loss of wonder, a loss of beautiful possibilities. Saving nature is really about saving ourselves.
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Ol Pejeta needs our help now more than ever. At a time when unprecedented events have turned our world upside down, it is easy to turn inward and focus on the challenges that Covid 19 poses in our own lives and to our immediate communities. We each must do our part to protect those who are vulnerable and at the same time, we can ensure that the causes we care so deeply about have the support they desperately need.
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We have launched a new campaign to help and you could win a trip to this incredible place! With a $10 donation, you will have a chance to win a trip to spend time with the last two northern white rhinos and learn about the incredible efforts to save the species from extinction. You will meet the committed keepers who spend their lives protecting these gentle, ancient creatures and I’ll give you a photography workshop.

While we social distance, let’s dream of a better future. The trip will be scheduled for when it’s safe to travel. Please share even if you can’t make a donation. Everything you can do is appreciated in these times.

Enter at omaze.com/safari

Thank you so much!

Ami Vitale on Afar Magazine’s Women to Watch in 2020

Ami Vitale is one of 20 honorees on Afar Magazine’s inaugural Women to Watch in 2020.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, and using the Society of Woman Geographers as inspiration, Afar Magazine has reinvented the all-female travel society for the year 2020.

“Singularly and together,” they say, “these travelers are our guides to exploring the world in a better way. They are pushing boundaries—be they physical, cultural, or mental—and they are women we would entrust to lead us around the world and show us how to experience it in new and different ways. They are women, as they say, who have done things.”

On Ami, Afar says, “Ami Vitale knew from a young age that a camera doesn’t distance you from the subject—it brings you closer. Her passion for human connection has carried her to more than 100 countries…Vitale recognizes that stories aren’t just about people—they’re about our relationship to the natural world.”

Read the whole article and learn about all the inspiring work on it in Afar Magazine.