Belgium-based wildlife photographer Niki Colemont is taking social media by storm with his collection of cute squirrel photos that would surely make people smile.
These light-hearted photos, however, came from challenging ordeals. Before becoming a well-known photographer, Colemont fled the Rwandan genocide at just four years old, arriving in Belgium as a refugee.
“Life has never been easy for me especially growing up. I faced a difficult time during my younger years which helped me realize my role in this world — that’s to become an eye to the world,” says Colemont in an interview.
As part of the thriving photographic community, Colemont has poured effort and dedication to carve out his own space in the industry. As a self-taught photographer, he learned everything through trial and error over the years.
Colemont has been published in big online photography websites like F stoppers and Petapixel, showcasing his photos of squirrels in all sorts of situations.
Colemont says he discovered his passion for wildlife after observing birds and nesting habits. Soon after, he bought a telephoto lens to start his wildlife photography journey.
“On my 30th birthday, I bought myself a Sigma 150 to 600mm telephoto lens and a stealth gear square hide tent to get closer to wild animals. Buying these things was my big dream,” Colemont recounts.
He later became known for his fascinating squirrel photography genre, solidifying his space in the global photographic community. Colemont loves to take pictures naturally and doesn’t use photoshop to place the animals in awesome poses.
“I somehow developed a special kind of affection for squirrels. I consider them as the perfect models,” says Colemont.
Since then, Colemont has amassed a vast and diverse collection of detailed squirrel action shots featuring the animals in various scenarios.
In 2019, Colemont achieved a significant career milestone by becoming a National Geographic Photography Contest finalist. His works have also been published online by media giants including HuffPost UK, The Telegraph, and The Times UK.
In Belgium, Colemont has been featured on television at least six times, and his works on photographing squirrels reached various newspapers.