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The Questionnaire : Maxime Aliaga by Carole Schmitz


Maxime Aliaga : Into the Wild !

Maxime Aliaga discovered his passion for photography at the age of 24 while exploring the Mediterranean forests around Montpellier, his hometown. “The forests were my playground, a perfect place to start,” he recalls. However, for Maxime, nature photography is much more than a passion: it is a true commitment.

In all his travels across the globe, he participates in scientific studies on wildlife and volunteers with organizations dedicated to nature conservation. His constant proximity to threatened ecosystems and endangered species, as well as to the people who fight to protect them, fuels his work and mission.

His photographs celebrate the extraordinary diversity of the natural world and highlight the crucial importance of its preservation. For several years, Maxime has tirelessly documented the work of NGOs engaged in saving endangered species. Spending several months a year in the field, he meticulously documents his findings for his articles and voluntarily provides images to these associations. For him, photography is a powerful tool to showcase the fragile beauty of nature and to spotlight the remarkable efforts of those who protect it.

His journeys have taken him to Costa Rica, Papua New Guinea, and the Seychelles, where he has captured a vast diversity of species with his Canon equipment, ranging from the Canon EOS 350D to the Canon EOS 7D Mark II. In 2019, he was recognized by the International League of Conservation Photographers, becoming an Associate Fellow. With a degree in biodiversity management and several years of experience as a field technician, he now has an impressive portfolio and works full-time as a nature photographer, documenting the work of environmental NGOs.

Since 2015, he has closely collaborated with the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) in Indonesia, photographing this fascinating yet endangered species, both in rehabilitation centers and in the heart of Sumatra’s tropical forests. Through his images and stories, Maxime continues to raise public awareness about the urgent need to protect our precious biodiversity.


Web site :

Instagram : maxime_aliaga


Your first photographic click?

Maxime Aliaga: During my studies in nature management and protection, I wanted to share my observations from my nature outings. So I started doing macro photography around my home in the scrubland near Montpellier, where I’m from. I was amazed to see so many details on all these little creatures, especially the butterflies.


The image maker who inspired you?

Maxime Aliaga: Sebastião Salgado.


The image you haven’t taken yet but would like to?

Maxime Aliaga: An orangutan seen from above, on a tree overlooking the canopy. It will happen; I will take it one day.


The image that moved you the most?

Maxime Aliaga: The gaze of a mother orangutan towards her baby.


The image that made you angry?

Maxime Aliaga: A jaguar hunting a caiman that I completely missed.


A key image in your personal pantheon?

Maxime Aliaga: The “Man of the Forest” – A beautiful male orangutan taken with a wide-angle lens. This image won the grand prize at the Montier-en-Der Festival in 2018.


A photographic memory from your childhood?

Maxime Aliaga: The truth is I wasn’t interested in photography during my childhood; that came much later.


The image that obsesses you?

Maxime Aliaga: I dream of photographing the Sumatran tiger.


What is the last photo you took?

Maxime Aliaga: The spatula-tailed hummingbird in Peru. One of the most beautiful and rarest hummingbirds in the world.


How do you choose your projects?

Maxime Aliaga: I generally try to follow my intuition. Ideas emerge, and I try to implement them. Mainly endangered species with conservation projects. I also regularly accompany photo tours to destinations I know well.

Which photo changed the world?

Maxime Aliaga: The photo of Earth seen from space. I think this image makes us realize that we are part of an interconnected whole. Our only planet: Earth.


And which photo changed your world?

Maxime Aliaga: My first photo of the Tapanuli orangutan discovered in 2017, and I was one of the first to photograph it to present it to the world.


What is the last thing you did for the first time?

Maxime Aliaga: Curling, I think. (lol)


What makes a successful photo?

Maxime Aliaga: A successful photo is one that evokes emotions and/or raises questions.


What interests you most in an image?

Maxime Aliaga: Conveying emotions and admiration for animal species.


Without a budget limit, what artwork would you dream of acquiring?

Maxime Aliaga: Maybe a Banksy.


In your opinion, what quality is necessary to be a good photographer?

Maxime Aliaga: You need to be able to anticipate. This is especially true in wildlife photography; you have to anticipate the encounter with the animal to be in the right place at the right time and be ready to capture the photo.


The secret to the perfect image, if it exists?

Maxime Aliaga: I believe there is no secret. It’s more of an alchemy of the moment, involving light, the subject, and the photographer’s eye.


The person you would like to photograph if you had the opportunity?

Maxime Aliaga: I would like to photograph tribes in the Amazon.


The photographer you would like or would have liked to have your portrait taken by?

Maxime Aliaga: No idea.


An indispensable photo book?

Maxime Aliaga: Mine, PONGO (lol).


The camera from your childhood?

Maxime Aliaga: I started with a Canon EOS 350D. You could say I’m a child of the digital age.


The one you use today?

Maxime Aliaga: Today, I use mirrorless cameras like the Canon EOS R5 and R3.


Your favorite drug?

Maxime Aliaga: Coffee.


The best way for you to disconnect?

Maxime Aliaga: Going out with my inflatable canoe on the river.


What is your relationship with the image?

Maxime Aliaga: To be honest, I am not an image scholar or intellectual; I don’t have a great historical or contemporary knowledge of photography. For me, an image is a testimony, and in my case, a testimony to the beauty of nature.


What do you see when you see your reflection in the mirror?

Maxime Aliaga: Myself, a human.


Your greatest quality?

Maxime Aliaga: I try to be kind.


Your latest craze?

Maxime Aliaga: An electric mountain bike.


An image to illustrate a new banknote?

Maxime Aliaga: It’s hard to say, as I am not a fan of the consumerist world and the control that banks have over people and the state of the planet.


Your greatest professional extravagance?

Maxime Aliaga: I’m searching, but I can’t find any; I must be quite a classic guy.


What differences between photography and art photography?

Maxime Aliaga: An art photograph has a unique and refined presentation, a print on beautiful paper, and is presented in a beautiful frame. It’s a photograph that becomes a unique object, an artwork as a whole.


Your biggest regret?

Maxime Aliaga: I have none.


In terms of social networks, are you more Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok, and why?

Maxime Aliaga: More Instagram, which was initially really focused on images. Today, I have trouble keeping up with reels and the influencer trend. Should I put my energy into staging myself to be successful on these platforms, or should I simply continue trying to take the best photos possible during my expeditions? Personally, I have always focused on the quality of my images.


Color or B&W?

Maxime Aliaga: Color.


Daylight or artificial light?

Maxime Aliaga: Daylight.


In your opinion, what is the most photogenic city?

Maxime Aliaga: I like South American cities, but I admit I’m not an urban photographer.


If God existed, would you ask him to pose for you, or would you opt for a selfie with him?

Maxime Aliaga: Not the selfie.


If I could organize your ideal dinner, who would be at the table?

Maxime Aliaga: Michael Jordan, Mike Horn, Jane Goodall, Sebastião Salgado, and my friends.


The image that represents the current state of the world for you?

Maxime Aliaga: “The Tank Man” from Tiananmen Square, this famous image of an unarmed man facing a line of tanks.


What is missing in today’s world?

Maxime Aliaga: Common sense.


If you had to start all over again?

Maxime Aliaga: I would do it all the same way.


The final word?

Maxime Aliaga: Be happy to be happy, and everything will be fine.




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