"Man is part of nature," he says. "What we've perhaps forgotten is that we depend on nature completely. We are totally dependent on insects, on bees. Being an ecologist is about loving nature, but it's also about loving people. Ecology is completely linked to humanism."
Born in Paris in 1946, Yann started out working in the film industry as a teenager, but his remarkable career path has taken many twists and turns since then. In his 20s he quit the movie business to run a wildlife park. Nearly a decade later, he left his home country for the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, where he spent the following three years studying lions. "I left [for Kenya] with my wife and two children. To earn a living, I worked as a hot air balloon pilot. My idol, my mentor, was Jane Goodall," he remembers. "I wanted to study lions in exactly the same way she had chimpanzees.
"I also discovered during that period that photography lets you say something you couldn't say with writing. I really became a photographer at that time and then after four years, when I went back to France, I discovered aerial photography and understood its importance. I decided to become a photographer, not a scientist. I found that as a job, photography was more fun."