Over the past 16 years Swiss photographer Thomas Marent has traveled all over the world photographing rainforests, from Peru and Ecuador to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Usually traveling alone, Marent has been known to spend extraordinary lengths of time to get the perfect shot--sometimes 12 days. You can see the results in his first book, Rainforest
. The book is his testament--an intimate collection of more than 500 breathtaking animal and plant portraits, and the fascinating stories behind them.
Questions for Thomas Marent
Amazon.com: What inspired you to start taking pictures?
Marent: I used to be a birdwatcher in Switzerland--and soon I was also interested in amphibians, insects, and plants. After a while I thought it would be nice to have pictures of all these beautiful animals.
Amazon.com: Waiting for the perfect shot takes patience and time. How do you decide what images are worth waiting for?
Marent: I mostly focus on the colorful and spectacularly shaped creatures. Sometimes it is a matter of luck to find them, but sometimes I have to know where and when to look for them.
Amazon.com: What photo in Rainforest is your favorite?
Marent: I don't have one favorite--there are many favorites! I especially like the photos of frogs, butterflies, fungi, birds and weird insects.
Amazon.com: What would people find most surprising about the world's rainforests?
Marent: When people think of the rainforest, it's the monkeys, birds, and wild cats that first come to mind. But there are so many small and beautiful creatures. We need to see and appreciate them too--they're just a little harder to find! Many of these smaller creatures have never been seen by most people.
Amazon.com: Do you consider yourself a rainforest activist?
Marent: With the book I want to show to the people the endless beauty of the rainforests. I do hope that it might open the eyes of some people, so that they'll agree that it's worth protecting this fantastic environment.
Amazon.com: Some of the photos in the book, especially some of the insect photos, are really strange and otherworldly. What's your favorite exotic rainforest animal?
Marent: Some of my favorites always were frogs and butterflies, but birds and monkeys as well. And of course the weird-looking insects.
Amazon.com: What's your favorite rainforest?
Marent: In Asia it is Borneo. In Africa it is Madagascar. In Latin America it is Costa Rica and Peru/Colombia. But I also like the Australian and New Zealand rainforests.
Amazon.com: Do you have any advice for amateur nature photographers?
Marent: A tripod is an absolutely must. Try to move to the animals slowly and quietly--it takes some patience. Whenever possible try taking your pictures at the animal's eye level. And it's always important to think about the background when you compose the picture.