The story of this photo goes back to when I used to live in Johannesburg, South Africa. I went to boarding school there called African Leadership Academy from 2015 until 2017.
I don’t remember the exact date of this game reserve trip but during my 2 years there, we had plenty of exchange programs with schools from different parts of the world but mainly from the U.S. As you’d expect, what’s a trip to South Africa if you don’t get to see some wildlife so our school organized a trip to Pilanesberg National Park. I didn’t even own a camera back then, I couldn’t afford it quite yet, so I borrowed a friend’s Canon 70D and a long lens and started snapping photos of all sorts of animals.
I’m grateful for photography because it allowed me to pursue my curiosity in different ways. As a kid, I’d always find interesting details in seemingly plain landscapes, and I especially enjoyed looking upside down at things just to examine a different perspective. I remember often laying down and imagining what my room would look like if it was built upside down, like I’d take a leap before entering the doorway due to the space above the door, how I’d look out the window and probably be careful not to fall, so on and so forth. Through photography, I was able to flip the camera upside down, zoom all the way in and examine the world differently. Anyway, I say all this to explain how I even looked down to snap the photo of this story. I looked down and saw the footprints of a lion(maybe? yeah, I think so) and it clicked in my head. Not only we, as humans, are a constant threat to wildlife but I was an active participant in this so-called national park. We were trespassing on their kingdom and I felt that one picture perfectly explained it.
At the time I’m writing this blog post, the picture has 690,362 views and 6,033 downloads on Unsplash.