Remembering a friend, photographer Jon Hrusa

I didn’t know him well.  I hadn’t seen him for a long while.  But I liked him, a lot, and he taught me and others working for animal welfare across the planet a great deal. 

His images continue to engage and inspire us and millions around the world. 

So I was hard hit when my colleague Erica Martin told me that renowned International Fund for Animal Welfare photographer Jon Hrusa  passed away too young on December 19th, 2011.

Jon worked for IFAW as a freelancer beginning in 2000. In June of that year, the sinking of the bulk iron-ore carrier MV Treasure, eight kilometers off the shore of his native South Africa, led to a massive oil spill and the world’s worst-ever coastal bird disaster.

Jon arrived in Cape Town on June 25th, went straight to Robben Island that afternoon and began documenting IFAW’s dramatic rescue and rehabilitation efforts. Three months later, an extraordinary army of local wildlife rescuers, government personnel and selfless volunteers from all walks of life celebrated the success of a massive operation to save 40,000 oiled African Penguins – all of it captured through the lens of Jon Hrusa.

Jon’s extraordinary images of the Treasure response and countless other IFAW projects ran in media outlets around the world. 

Almost a decade ago, he led a training session for communications professionals from across IFAW’s international offices. 

His topic: how to use still images to convey IFAW values and messages.

As I look back on my notes from that session, Jon’s passion, professionalism, and central point still shine through:

Images convey information more effectively than words in a cluttered, busy world.

Jon’s work was proof of that. 

Take a moment out from your own busy world to see some of his best.



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