Vintage Photos Taken by Jane Goodall’s Emmy-Winning Partner

Van Lawick was the eye behind the camera on Jane’s early career, shooting a vast archive. Now his talent is celebrated in a posthumous Emmy.

Jane Goodall prepares for a nightlong vigil studying chimpanzees.
Photograph by Hugo Van Lawick, Nat Geo Image Collection

When we hear of Jane Goodall, we don’t often hear very much about one of the people who was closest to her: Hugo van Lawick, the man behind the lens that shot many of the most famous photographs of Jane during her early years in Africa.

Hugo first went to Gombe in 1962. There, he took thousands of photos and filmed over 65 hours of Jane studying the chimpanzees, contributing to the growing global awareness of chimps. Jane disliked being photographed, but tolerated it for the sake of her research. She may have also tolerated it because Hugo was the one behind the camera; they were married a few years later. They had a son and divorced after 10 years, but remained close.

<p>Photographer Hugo van Lawick and zoolologist Jane Goodall observe a family of chimpanzees in Gombe National Park, Tanzania. It's 1965.</p>

Photographer Hugo van Lawick and zoolologist Jane Goodall observe a family of chimpanzees in Gombe National Park, Tanzania. It's 1965.

Photograph by Hugo Van Lawick, Nat Geo Image Collection

Most of the material van Lawick shot was unseen before it was put into storage in rural Pennsylvania. The photos and films sat for 55 years until National Geographic Documentary Films rediscovered them and used just a tiny part of the archive to create JANE, a fresh-eyed portrait of the woman who, at 84 years old, is still travelling extensively with her message of conservation.

JANE won two Emmy Awards, one for its cinematography. Van Lawick shared in that award—17 years after his death.

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