In 1985, freelance Dutch photographer (and generally cool guy) Fernando Pereira was killed when the ship he was aboard, the Rainbow Warrior, was sunk by French intelligence agencies. Manned by Greenpeace members, the vessel had been headed to French Polynesia to protest nuclear testing.
Twenty-nine years later, in a bizarre turn of events, a member of the original team that sunk the ship, Alain Mafart –now known as Alain Mafart-Renodeir– was one of twelve natural photographers to be selected to have their pieces grace the pages of Greenpeace’s yearly calendar. Upon realizing the dark coincidence, Greenpeace attempted to recall the calendar, though many remain in circulation.
Only a year later, and still amidst the hubbub of the Greenpeace incident, Mafart-Renodeir was named a finalist for the prestigious Natural History Museum of Britain’s “wildlife photographer of the year” for his work with Japanese macaques.
One of Pereira’s former shipmates probably puts it best when describing the surreal drama surrounding the photographer-killer-turned-photography-star: “It’s kind of tragically ironic–or something.”