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Worth photographing: an interview with Greg du Toit

Wildlife Photographer of the Year winner Greg duToit is a massive part of BMS World Mission’s creation care initiative, Worth Saving. His wonderful photographs make up the ‘worth downloading’ desktop images we are making available free of charge to subscribers every month ‒ a fact that we at BMS are immensely pleased about and we hope will please you, too. 
 

Greg’s Christian faith is an integral part of his photographic career ‒ a career that has also seen his work feature in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, his pictures  receive multiple awards and one of his exhibitions attracted 40,000 visitors a day.  

We caught up with Greg in the middle of his hectic schedule of leading wildlife photography safaris across Africa to ask him about his faith, his photography and why creation care matters to him. 

 

You’ve won prizes for your photography and been published all over the world ‒ did you have any idea this might be your career when you first picked up a camera? 

Absolutely no idea! From early on I had dreams of being a professional wildlife photographer and maybe publishing for African Geographic, but that was my highest goal. So how things turned out speaks about God doing immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine. I’m totally blown away by what happened and by the places I’ve gone and the places I’ve been published, it’s a total surprise to me. 

 

God’s creation obviously inspires your photography. What does nature do for you in terms of your relationship with God? Do you meet him there?

Definitely. It’s a place where I most easily commune with God and where I most easily see him. It’s very much a foundation of my faith in that, when I’m in nature and when I see these amazing things, it helps me to believe in God. Because I’m on the road so much, I don’t go to church, I don’t belong to a community of believers, I don’t have that luxury or privilege. So creation really is kind of my sanctuary. 

 

You’ve very kindly made some of your photographs available for subscribers to Worth Saving. Would you have a message for people who will be downloading your pictures? What do you hope they will get out of them?

I’m very glad to be part of it. As a Christian wildlife photographer I have just received so much from God through creation. I don’t mean that in an airy-fairy way. I’ve been able to see incredible places and have incredible experiences in nature. And not just once, but over and over. Going to the Serengeti is an annual thing for me, and I had dreamt of just seeing it once. 

My photographs are my way of sharing and my way of saying: ‘This is what I’ve seen and experienced and I’m now passing it on to you.’ That’s the reason that I’m out there. I want my photos to be salt and light. That’s my prayer. 

I just want people to see them and to enjoy them. To have my pictures cheer them up if they need it and to remind them there is a God if they need to be reminded of that. It’s just a pleasure basically.  

 

Some Christians would say that we don’t need to worry about caring for creation because the important thing is getting people into heaven and ultimately the world is going to be burnt to a crisp.

My reply to that would be the one verse that God has given me, that’s been my beacon ‒ Romans 1: 20: “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities ‒ his eternal power and divine nature” [NLT]. I think that if you have Christians out there who think nature doesn’t matter, then look at that verse and realise that God, through creation, reaches people. He shows himself clearly, which is very important because there are not many places where you see God clearly. From that point of view I think it’s really important for Christians to care about creation. 

 

Worth pondering?

Is there any part of creation, locally or nationally, which you experience as a sanctuary?

Where, if anywhere, do you see God clearly?

Download this month’s photograph to your computer. Where does God take you as you look at it?

Interview: Jonathan Langley

 

 

 

 

 

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