Above and beyond with Florian Ledoux

Florian Ledoux uses drones to capture the most untouched regions on earth and, more importantly, highlight the need to protect them.

Astronauts unanimously agree on one detail in particular: the overwhelming emotion of seeing earth, 240,000 miles away, no bigger than a marble and so poignantly alone, floating in a boundless sphere. It gives formidable perspective. It shows how fragile and delicate we are, able to be blotted out with an extended thumb.  

Frank Borman, the Commander of Apollo 8, the first mission to fly around the Moon, said of earth from space: “It was hard to think that that little thing held so many problems, so many frustrations.” An aerial view provokes contemplation. 

Arctic photographer Florian Ledoux knows this evocative perspective all too well, as he uses drones to document struggling polar regions and the wildlife that lives there. His work has garnered global recognition and merit – he won the 2018 Drone Awards with a photo of a polar bear walking in Nunavut (below), beating 4400 other submissions from over 101 countries. In truth, he could have probably taken second and third spot if the judges allowed it.

“Ever since I was a young boy I have been attracted to the untouched, pure wilderness of the Arctic and Antarctic,” says Florian. “When I find myself in these remote regions, co-existing with the wildlife, everything makes total sense. It is a deep feeling that consumes my body and soul in its entirety. In this moment, the urge to create an image that I would remember for the rest of my life with a strong message to protect it, comes naturally to me.”

His images are instantly captivating, at once showing the vast scale of earth’s last remaining wildernesses and portraying its fragility. A lone polar bear in a huge scene reflects their dwindling numbers; broken ice sheets, while abstract and spectacular, highlight rising seas and the ever-growing threat of global warming. With all of Florian’s work there is an undercurrent of duty to tell the real story and promote the need to preserve these areas and the animals that depend on them for survival.

I’m constantly looking for new perspectives when capturing wildlife,” says Florian. “These images allow us to observe behaviours and learn about lesser-known parts of our planet. A great worry is that people are becoming disconnected from nature. Photography can contribute to conservation by shedding light on important topics with relevant images.”

From a distance one can truly appreciate the earth’s beauty, while realising what we are doing to the land and wildlife. Through Florian’s work, it is clear to see that we have so much to discover and, most importantly, to protect.

See more of Florian Ledoux's work at www.florian-ledoux.com