You've photographed endangered creatures around the world – from bears to wolves, even snails… which was the most challenging?
"Each subject presents its own unique set of difficulties. Besides, the more experienced you get, the higher your expectations because you want to raise your standards. That said, the fennec foxes were really difficult to photograph. On the border between Algeria and Tunisia, I faced a hostile environment with intense heat and sandstorms. My kit was exposed to grit and fine sand, which can get into the focusing barrels. On top of that, I was dealing with a small and super-skittish animal with an incredible sense of hearing."
Does your scientific background influence the kind of images you take?
"I like to frame my subjects in their context. As a trained biologist, I want to show where the animal lives and how important its habitat is for the species' survival. So my first approach is to go for wide environmental shots with a strong composition, sharp across the whole frame."
Beyond this, how would you describe your visual style?
"Light is really important for me to give depth to my images and strong contours to my subjects. I like simplicity. A perfect picture in my opinion has no more than two or three colours so I like the desert or the snow as both give clean, minimalist backgrounds. But I also like the complete opposite – really strong close-ups: an animal's eyes; the detail of the dorsal pattern of the scales of a snake or fish; the design of a mammal's coat; or the wing of a bird."
How do you ensure your presence doesn't impact on the places you work?
"Knowledge of your subjects is fundamental to avoid disrupting their behaviour or harming them in any way. Research is key. If I'm in the field for a month, I'll spend two months planning and researching beforehand. It's incredible how much information you can now get before going to a place – satellite data, scientific papers, even pictures of the area shot by amateurs can help."