Freelance photographer since 1989, Eric Tourneret is today recognized internationally as «the bee photographer». He presently lives in the Ardèche region of France. His childhood near Annecy, France, between lakes and mountains, attuned him to the beauty of natural settings. At the age of 17, he discovered Africa, the desert and encounters with various other cultures. He was introduced to photography in studios where he worked with fashion and advertizing photographers, with specialists in lighting and visual creation. He then travelled the world during fifteen years bringing back ethnic and social feature stories for the Press.
When French beekeepers’ efforts to have systemic insecticides prohibited alerted him to the disappearance of the bees, Eric began an in-depth work in 2004 on apiculture by immersing himself in the life of the hive. His innovative photographs were put together in a first published work «Le peuple des abeilles» (The Bee Nation) and have appeared in many publications in the international press. In 2007, he expanded his investigations on a worldwide scale with a series of features on the relation of humans to bees, from the most archaic harvesting methods to industrial and commercial beekeeping. His work was published in 2009 under the title «Cueilleurs de miel» (The Honey Gatherers).
Since then, Eric Tourneret has continued his travels, exploring the great beekeeping traditions in Slovenia, Germany and Turkey. He has encountered the nomads of Ethiopia and the Pygmies of the Republic of the Congo, the giant bees of India and Indonesia, the stingless bees of Brazil, Costa Rica and also the killer bees of Panama. He has discovered urban apiculture in New York, London, Berlin, Hong Kong… and the dangerous Asian hornet that has arrived in France, the perpetual honey flows in Australia and hand pollination in China.
Exhibited at photography Festivals, in Natural History Museums, Botanical Gardens, his images testify to a world in transition and reveal the causes of the disappearance of the bees.
These ten years of discovering bees and people have resulted in an exhibition on the Fences of the French Senate, Paris France.
Eric Tourneret’s work was recently exhibited at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
“Honey hunting is a pursuit as old as humankind, for it is likely that early humans, living in hunter-gatherer groups, searched for the nests of honey bees and robbed them of brood and honey for food, as do many of the hunter-gatherer peoples who have survived to the present time. Eric Tourneret, in his stupendous work, “The Honey Roads”, beautifully shows us how we humans obtain delicious honey around the world today. My advice is to hunt down a copy”!
Thomas D. Seeley
Horace White Professor in Biology, Cornell University
“Eric Tourneret brings together outstanding masterly skills in photography with an ability to imagine himself as being part of the world he documents in his photos. This rare approach leads to impressions fixed in his photos, which are just breathtaking. The lives of honeybees documented through the camera-lenses of Eric Tourneret opens our eyes for to a wonderful new world”.
Prof.Dr. Juergen Tautz
HOBOS project, Würzburg University, Germany