“It was looking at the photographs in Champion’s book “With a Camera in Tiger-land” that first gave me the idea of taking photographs of tigers.”
F. W. Champion was well known for his pioneering wildlife photography in India in the 1920s and 1930s. Using primitive tripwires and flash, he obtained some of the first really remarkable photographs of tigers at night. He also wrote stirringly of the creatures in the Indian jungles, from tigers, leopards and wild elephants to squirrels, nilgai and vultures. He published two popular books: “With a Camera in Tiger-Land” in 1927 and “The Jungle in Sunlight and Shadow” in 1934.
He was a rare early preservationist, at a time when it was far more fashionable to look at a tiger down the barrel of a rifle than through the lens of a camera. His extraordinarily advanced views on the conservation of forests and wildlife are, even now, strikingly relevant. In fact, in his capacity as a forester with the Imperial Forestry Service in India, he disliked having to issue permits to dignitaries who came to his area of forest to shoot, and occasionally gave out permits for areas where he knew no tigers were to be found.
This new edition makes accessible a collection of some of F. W. Champion's best writings and photographs, selected by his grandson, James Champion, and also includes a revealing and touching biography.
Click here to read a few pages of the book
Naturalist, wildlife photographer, forest officer or conservationist - if you are going to buy just one book this year, get this one. ‘Tripwire for a Tiger’ is nothing less than a collector’s item. It's not just Champion’s wonderful imagery that has stood the test of time, his conservation philosophy is as relevant now as it was during his day.
Jim Corbett rightly says that had F.W. Champion shot his tigers with a rifle instead of a camera, his trophies would long since have been consigned to the dustbin... he even acknowledges that he started to shoot tigers with a camera, and not a gun, only after looking at Champion’s photographs.Wildlife photographers and enthusiasts and every serving Forest Officer should have a copy of ‘Tripwire for a Tiger’, written by one of British India's finest foresters.
What struck me was the fact that Champion was so far ahead of his time: both, in the difficult craft of tiger photography, and in promoting the preservationist ideal...A book of this kind on Fred Champion was long overdue... it is a testimonial that many of us working on the frontlines of conservation in India owe to the elder Champion.