About the author

Photographer, graphic designer, project consultant... author

While much of Volker’s career has been spent chasing dragons, earning him features in international publications like BBC Wildlife and GEO magazine, over time his work has expanded to increasingly focus on various pressing environmental issues.

In publishing his first book “KOMODO – In Pursuit of the Living Legends”, Volker realised a long-cherished dream of sharing his unique and formative experiences with a wider audience.

Spawned by his love for the dragons and Indonesia, the book is ultimately a chronicle of his unique interactions with the legendary lizards alongside moving recollections of his own lifetime’s milestones.

(A Hitchhiker’s) Path to nature photography

Born and raised in Germany, from a young age, Volker loved wildlife and the outdoors. In his teenage years he began to experiment with channeling this passion into art.

Hitchhiking trips through Europe and the pursuit of outdoor adventures first awakened his interest in travel photography and soon, trips to Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, and Hawaii would further intensify his love for nature and animal photography.

His initial enchantment with the awe-inspiring natural beauty quickly evolved into an unrelenting desire to broaden his artistic skills. Thus began his impassioned quest to capture the true wonders of Life that, for him, only time in and with nature could bring.

Technically shooting...

To refine his craft and gain technical expertise, Volker pursued a degree in Visual Arts and Photography at the Mathildenhoehe Design School in Darmstadt, Germany. Interestingly, while his peers opted for more conventional subjects such as fashion, people and architecture, Volker’s professed passion for capturing nature and animals was somewhat of a rarity.

For his final thesis, the choice of a photo story about the Komodo dragons in Indonesia would become the first milestone of a decades-long love affair with these unique reptiles and their native lands: a relationship that would ultimately shape his work, life and personal convictions in profound ways.

Growing roots

Settling down in Ubud – the spiritual centre of Bali and home to a diversely international and artistic community – Volker had finally chosen Indonesia as his new home. His work assignments brought him to different regions across the archipelago. Consequently, while capturing stark images of endangered species in their natural environments, he was increasingly exposed to the devastating impacts of environmental destruction.

Moved to play a more impactful role in finding solutions to these pressing issues, he began to dedicate his life to an NGO project setting up a waste removal system for the local community. The project also introduced composting and environmental education activities in the buffer zone of Ujung Kulon National Park, home of the last remaining Javan rhinos.

Beyond Komodo

After the devastating tsunami hit the north coast of Sumatra in December 2004, Volker began to work freelance for German implementing agency GTZ (now GIZ) during the reconstruction process in Aceh province. Over time, he has become a much sought-after consultant for photography and graphic design, working with development aid and climate change projects in Indonesia and Timor-Leste.

In his first book, “KOMODO – In Pursuit of the Living Legends”, Volker combines vibrant photographs and captivating stories about the transformations these various journeys across the archipelago have inspired in both his professional and personal life.

Volker still resides in Ubud and remains passionate about Komodo dragons. He is currently involved in innovative projects around implementing effective solutions to help address Indonesia’s most challenging environmental issues.

Follow Us

Distributed by

Volker Kess, Germany

©2020 The Komodo Book. Volker Kess Photography

Website by Wayan.dev