Nationality: Canadian | Born: 1960
Gregory Colbert (born 1960 in Toronto) is a Canadian film-maker and photographer best known as the creator of Ashes and Snow, an exhibition of photographic artworks and films housed in the Nomadic Museum. Colbert sees himself as an apprentice to nature. His works are collaborations between humans and other species that express the poetic sensibilities and imaginations of human and animals. His images offer an inclusive non-hierarchical vision of the natural world, one that depicts an interdependence and symmetry between humanity and the rest of life. In describing his vision, Colbert has said, '"I would define what I do as storytelling…what’s interesting is to have an expression in an orchestra—and I’m just one musician in the orchestra. Unfortunately, as a species we’ve turned our back to the orchestra. I’m all about opening up the orchestra, not just to other humans, but to other species.'"
Colbert began his career in Paris in 1983 making documentary films on social issues. Film-making led to fine arts photography. Colbert's first exhibition, Timewaves, opened in 1992 at the Museum of Elysée in Switzerland to wide critical acclaim. For the next ten years, Colbert did not publicly exhibit his art or show any films. Instead, he traveled to such places as Antarctica, India, Egypt, Burma, Tonga, Australia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Thailand, China, the Arctic, the Azores, and Borneo. Elephants, whales, manatees, sacred ibis, cranes, eagles, gyrfalcons, Rhinoceros Hornbills, cheetahs, leopards, African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus), caracals, baboons, eland, meerkats, gibbons, orangutans, penguins, pandas, polar bears, lions, giant Pacific manta rays, and saltwater crocodiles are among the animals he has filmed and photographed. Human collaborators include San bushmen, Tsaatan, Lisu, Massai, Chong, Kazakhs, and people from other indigenous tribes around the world. Colbert, who calls animals "nature's living masterpieces," photographs and films both wild animals and those that have been habituated to human contact in their native environments. The images record what he saw through the lens of his camera without the use of digital collaging.