The nature photography community suffered a great loss this year with the passing of Fritz Pölking. The German photographer was regarded as a pioneer of modern wildlife photography in Europe, winning many awards throughout his career including BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year. He was 71.
Born in 1936, Pölking grew up taking pictures of songbirds that would nest in the garden of his family’s home in Krefeld, Germany.
Perhaps best known for his images of cheetahs and leopards in Masai Mara, Kenya, Pölking’s photographs have appeared in many publications including Geo, National Geographic, Der Stern and International Wildlife. He published dozens of books, including The Art of Wildlife Photography.
“A wildlife photographer requires perseverance above all,” Pölking once said. “Wildlife photography can never be regarded simply as trophy hunting with a camera, nor can technique ever be an end in itself.”
He co-founded Gesellschaft Deutscher Tierfotografen (Society of German Nature Photographers) and was one of the first international members of the National American Nature Photography Association. He preferred to work in the Bavarian Forest of Germany, south Florida and Masai Mara, Kenya.
He is survived by his wife, Gisela, and daughter, Petra.