Jonas Classon is among Europe's most celebrated young bird photographers. With one of the most spectacular wildlife shots of 2020 to his name, he has established an enviable reputation in a competitive field.
Born and raised in Sweden, where he is still based today, Jonas took his first pictures aged six when he borrowed his sister's camera during a fishing trip. But his passion for nature photography was truly ignited following a long period in hospital as a teenager.
Indian Cormorant in Bharatpur
Photographer Classon has followed birds in India over time. In Bharatpur in northern India, swamps and wetlands alternating with plains, supply an optimal environment where nesting and migrating birds live under harsh circumstances. The birds are Indian cormorants, who practice early morning fishing and then drying off on dead branches. The air pollution manifested in the thick smog is the reality that these birds live in. The swamps and moist air bind the pollutants. Sunsets in this area are grey and the sun sets in heavy smog. The birds that live here are in greater danger than the birds travelling through. People often wear masks to protect themselves from the toxic air pollution. “As a photographer I become a witness of an environmental disaster, whilst I have the privilege to return to the old woods in the province of Närke.” These birds, and other animals who cannot protect themselves or escape, are vulnerable and lives are at risk. The contrast between these birds' air and natural conditions for life is breath-taking.
The Great Grey Owl in The Old Forest
Jonas Classon is a bird photographer who has focused on bird photography since 2016.
The photographer gets his inspiration to these pictures by studying the birds' behaviours and habitats. He can stay for months in an environment and in the company of one single animal. Classon's work is about becoming one with nature and predicting the bird’s movement patterns. The individual is in focus, and he often works these long periods with the same motive to create a relationship with them. The photographer's purpose is to engage and strengthen the bonds between people and nature. The great grey owl (Lappugglan) from Närkeskogen shows a young bird only a few weeks old who just recently left her nest. She is now out on her own to use her wings and learn how to fly. Fallen trees and overturned tree trunks is where they climb up and throw themselves out to practice their wings. This condition is given in old forests as well the possibility to build nests in rotten stumps and old trees. Old forests provide not only important lungs that clean air but necessary green pathways for owls. The mythical owl can be as large as 150cm in wingspan and fly silently only in dusk. Photographer Classon describes that he portraits a person, a unique and indestructible gaze.