in memory of    
Hugo van Lawick  

Hugo van Lawick - Cameraman and producer

Born in Indonesia, as son of Hugo Anne Victor Raoul Baron van Lawick and Isabella Sophia Baroness van Ittersum, Hugo developed an early love of animals and determined that film would be his medium. He was since his youth facinated with photography and this resulted in his later years in becoming the best filmer of Natural Life.
In 1959 he was a stills and cinema cameraman for Dutch film companies on location in Kenya.

By 1962, he was covering East Africa for the National Geographic Society. Hugo was sent to The Gombe Reservation in Tanzania to register some of the amazing discoveries that primate researcher Jane Goodall had made during her study of chimpanzees, beginning a long creative relationship that sustained his art and detailed research into the predators of the plain. Over a period of twenty years Hugo filmed the lives of three generations of chimpanzees. It took him five years to edit the hundreds of hours of valuable material into the feature film "People of the Forest".
The wildlife researcher, Jane Goodall, was his wife and collaborator for many years; together they wrote and produced many films and books.

For more than thirty years Hugo van Lawick living and worked close to the grass of the African plains. He was part of the conservation structure of Tanzania and enjoyed complete access. This intimacy and experience made him our most distinguished recorder of natural drama. He became the authority on African wild dogs, and an expert on the behaviour of many other species: golden jackals, hyenas, leopards and, of course, chimpanzees.

Hugo Baron van Lawick is a most respected naturalist and can be seen as the natural history writer of Eastern Africa, who records on film the diversity and natural resources, that may never be seen again, through the eyes of an artist and with the accumulated knowledge, patience and precision of a scientist. His knowledge of wildlife's natural behaviour and his characteristic 'sympathetic observation' style of filming are unique. In his films the animals tell their own story. The grace and perception of his extraordinary films have given him no less than eight EMMY awards and numerous other prizes.

Hugo was exceptionally dedicated to his work as a cameraman. Filming was his life. He expected the same attitude of all his crew members. He always worked according to the same principle:place strong emphasis on the individual character of each animal, rather than just seeing them as representatives of a particular species.


Born : April 10 1937, Soerabja, Indonesia
Died : June 2 2002, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Countries of Residence :
   . Indonesia 4 years
   . Australia 1 year
   . Great Britain 5 years
   . The Netherlands 12 years
   . Kenya 2 years
  . Tanzania 40 years

Marital status :
   . married March 28, 1964 Tasmania (to Valerie Jane Morris Goodall) divorced 1974
   . married March 23, 1978 Gambia (to Therese Rive) divorced January 19th 1984

Children :
   . Hugo Eric Louis (Grub) Van Lawick, born March 4 1967, Nairobi.


1957 - 1959 Assistant cameraman (Joop Geesink, Amsterdam)
1960 - 1961 Cameraman (Armand & Michaela Denis, Kenya)
(3 months Assistant Game Warden (Rhino project, Kenya)
1962 - 1967 Cameraman & Photographer (National Geographic)
1964 - 1974 Administrative Director 'Gombe Stream Research Centre', Tanzania; supervision organisation, accounts etc. while continuing film & photographic work
1968 - 1999 Independent Producer, cameraman, still photographer, author.


Hugo's films are for sale again: visit for more info.


All rights 2002-2006
G. van Lawick