Tui De Roy – A Lifetime in Galapagos
The UK edition of Tui De Roy’s latest book A Lifetime in Galapagos is published in hardback on 25th June by Bloomsbury Wildlife. Nature Picture Library is proud to represent Tui and to hold more than 270 of the extraordinary images from the book.
Tui grew up in the Galapagos, where her parents moved from Belgium in the 1950s and has lived there for more than 50 years, becoming an expert on the archipelago’s unique ecosystems and endemic animals and plants. The book covers the full range of Galapagos wildlife, both on land and sea and Tui’s authoritative text reveals her in-depth knowledge of these very special islands.
We asked Tui to select some of her favourite photographs, and we have also chosen some of the most intriguing image sets to give you a taster of the book.
“Nowhere else on earth have such unique – and often contrary – geographic factors combined to produce an ecosystem even remotely resembling that of Galapagos. It is this remarkable combination of limitations and opportunities that are at the origin of what we see today: an ecosystem full of surprises, where strange bedfellows are the norm, not the exception.”
“When considering the evolutionary processes for which Galapagos is famous, there is nothing more fascinating than to observe first-hand how interdependent life forms have affected one another’s development through time. Year by year, the demands of survival drive the selection pressures these life forms apply to one another. Nowhere is this more evident than between the cacti of Galapagos and the various animals that depend on them for their survival. ”
“When Charles Darwin landed in Galapagos almost two centuries ago, he was amazed by the remarkable tameness of all the animals he encountered, especially the land birds. Yet it was not the finches (which would in time come to bear his name) that captivated him most. Instead, his curiosity was aroused by the different mockingbirds he observed on each new island he visited, all very similar yet slightly different.”
“Darwin and Wolf Islands have long remained the quasi-forgotten islands of Galapagos. When I first laid eyes on these two bastions of Galapagos, I knew they held something magical and mysterious. Scientists had reported the strange blood-sucking habits of a race of Darwin’s finches they had dubbed the vampire finch…”
Struggle for Survival
“As in any vibrant ecosystem, in order to survive, individuals must kill to eat, and must fight for space, food and mates. The fight for survival is constant and unforgiving. Often, what is the tragic loss of a baby for one species represents a crucial dinner for the babies of another.”
Born of Fire
“On any given day in Galapagos it is easy to see many of the extraordinary animals that are unique to these islands. And with a fair bit of good fortune, it is also possible to see an erupting volcano. What is immeasurably more difficult is to witness both simultaneously. In a half century of trying, this opportunity came to me only once. As the French vulcanologist Maurice Krafft once wrote, ‘Sometimes Earth must destroy to better rebuild.’ This is the recurring fate that created Galapagos. The resulting set of photos, although constrained by the limitations of film, are also what set my documentation of Galapagos apart from all others.”
If you would like to see more of Tui’s amazing images from the book, take a look at our new Lifetime in Galapagos gallery.
With grateful thanks to Bloomsbury Wildlife, we are also holding a competition to win a copy of the book. Please select your favourite image from the Lifetime in Galapagos gallery and contact email@example.com to tell us why it is special to you in conveying the spirit of this unique place. We will award the book prize to the to answer judged most compelling.
Tui is still resident in Galapagos, living in a house ingeniously constructed from converted shipping containers, surrounded by a garden that she created herself, including a pond which she dug to attract wildlife. You can read more about Tui’s experience of the coronavirus lockdown in Galapagos in our lockdown blog.