Wildlife photographer Gabby Sykora delivers her presentation from a place she considers her second home—the bush of South Africa.
“The last two days have been pretty quiet, but this afternoon we had lions right next to the road; got some incredible photos…so yeah, today was a pretty good day,” she says in the matter-of-fact tone one might expect from a grizzled adventurer. It is, however, a little surprising coming from a 13-year-old.
Born in Johannesburg, Gabby says her family lived in the city but tried to escape to the bush as frequently as possible. She took up photography at age six and has had a passion for wildlife and nature for as long as she can remember, with an aspiration to eventually become a wildlife veterinarian.
When she discovered social media as most pre-teens do, Gabby knew she wanted to use it to help improve the lives of others. She started by creating an Instagram photography page to share her experiences. “Ultimately what I would like to do is show the beauty of nature to the people that cannot experience it firsthand,” she says.
Gabby also began chatting online with other young photographers. Discovering a common concern about the preservation of the natural world, she wanted to bring young, likeminded photographers together to make a difference. In June 2021, Gabby formed an organization called the Young Wildlife Photographers of Southern Africa; the group currently has 285 members aged 8-25, and is working toward the goals of becoming recognized as a leader in youth photography and conservation, and partnering with global organization to protect the world’s wildlife and natural spaces.
Gabby believes if she wants future generations to be able to see the beauty that’s around us today, her generation will have to make a difference now. “I’ve only a few years experience,” she muses, “but one thing is certain--my mind is constantly active and there is still a lot more to come.”
About Gabby Sykora
Gabby is a 13 year old young lady from South Africa, with a huge passion for wildlife photography and conservation. She won the overall Jnr creative arts category at Talent Africa in 2021. She joins us today to talk about fulfilling her dream of bringing all Young Wildlife Photographers in Southern Africa together through their shared passion for wildlife photography and conservation.
About Women Blaze Trails Festival:
In celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (February 11), LenovoEDU sponsored Women Blaze Trails, a virtual 3-day festival celebrating women in science, exploration, and conservation from around the world.
The virtual festival had one simple goal: celebrating incredible women, doing incredible things around the world, day in and day out. We’re sharing these videos from the festival so you can meet scientists, explorers, conservationists, filmmakers, photographers and more, showcasing their work, challenges, adventures, research and expeditions.
Image description: Childhood photos shared by Gabby Sykora, two elephants at Kruger National Park.