About The Honey Bee - Photographer - Eric Tourneret

Freelance photographer since 1989, Eric Tourneret is today recognized internationally as «the bee photographer». 

He presently lives in the Ardèche region of France. His childhood near Annecy, France, between lakes and mountains, attuned him to the beauty of natural settings. 

At the age of 17, he discovered Africa, the desert and encounters with various other cultures. 

He was introduced to photography in studios where he worked with fashion and advertising photographers, with specialists in lighting and visual creation. He then travelled the world during fifteen years bringing back ethnic and social feature stories for the Press.

When French beekeepers’ efforts to have systemic insecticides prohibited alerted him to the disappearance of the bees, Eric began an in-depth work in 2004 on apiculture by immersing himself in the life of the hive. His innovative photographs were put together in a first published work «Le peuple des abeilles» (The Bee Nation) and have appeared in many publications in the international press. In 2007, he expanded his investigations on a worldwide scale with a series of features on the relation of humans to bees, from the most archaic harvesting methods to industrial and commercial beekeeping. His work was published in 2009 under the title «Cueilleurs de miel» (The Honey Gatherers).

Since then, Eric Tourneret has continued his travels, exploring the great beekeeping traditions in Slovenia, Germany and Turkey. He has encountered the nomads of Ethiopia and the Pygmies of the Republic of the Congo, the giant bees of India and Indonesia, the stingless bees of Brazil, Costa Rica and also the killer bees of Panama. He has discovered urban apiculture in New York, London, Berlin, Hong Kong… and the dangerous Asian hornet that has arrived in France, the perpetual honey flows in Australia and hand pollination in China.

Exhibited at photography Festivals, in Natural History Museums, Botanical Gardens, his images testify to a world in transition and reveal the causes of the disappearance of the bees.

These ten years of discovering bees and people have resulted in an exhibition on the Fences of the French Senate, Paris France.

 Eric Tourneret’s work was recently exhibited at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland



A successfull publication of 19 500 copies in France.

Throughout the world for thousands of years, the bee has coexisted with humans. Gatherer, keeper or thief, everywhere, they have try to tame the bee to extract its divine elixir. And if today we better appreciate the bees’ decisive role in the propagation of life, getting to know the practices and customs that surround them also becomes the most fascinating of journeys.

At the top of the giant trees of Indonesia, on the cliffs inhabited by the Irula people in India, in the Omo Valley, in Turkey, Brazil or in the Australian bush with the amazing honey ants, Eric Tourneret invites us to travel the “honey roads”, today threatened by global standardization.

Gallant adventurer, « the bee photographer » shares here his travel notes transcribed by Sylla de Saint Pierre, and his most amazing photographs taken in 23 countries over the last ten years.
Passionate about the biology and the future of these exceptional purveyors of life that are the bees, Eric Tourneret has asked a dozen scientists to share their perspectives on the lesser known aspects of the bees’ democracy and the dangers that threaten them.

From the love of flowers to the rare and precious honeys of the world, while observing the stingless bees, the traveler bees, discovering the new fashion of urban beekeeping or the impressive Asian hornet, we see here, with the best of guides, everything from the oldest apicultural traditions to the growing interest in honey.

The fascinating beauty of the images and the imminent disappearance of bees, make this work the most gripping testimony ever produced about the “daughters of the sun”.


Olivier De Schutter (Belgium)
– Special Rapporteur on the right to food for the United Nations Human Rights Council

“We could feed twice the planet’s population”.

Jerome Lewis (GB)
– Anthropologist, University College London

« The central role of honey in the founding myths of the Pygmy culture, its social role ».

Nicolas Césard (France)
– Ethnologist and researcher at the laboratory of ecological anthropology and ethnobiology at the National Museum of Natural History (CNRS/MNHN) in Paris

« The semi-domestication of the dorsata bee ».

Martin Giurfa (Argentina)
– Director of the Research Center on Animal Cognition of the CNRS and the Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse

« Cognitive performance of bees (complex learning, abstract concepts) ».

Margaret Couvillon (GB)
– Researcher at the Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects at the University of Sussex

« The nectar-gathering preferences of bees ».
David Roubik (US)
– Research Entomologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute of Panama

» The geological history of the stingless bess ».
« The defense strategies of stingless bees ».

Dennis van Engelsdorp (US)
– Entomologist, researcher at the University of Maryland

» Exposure of bees to pesticides during the pollination of crops ».

Jürgen Tautz (Germany)
– Professor at the biology center of the Bavarian University Julius Maximilian

« The society of bees, a super-organism possessing all the qualities that are the basis for mammals’ superiority over insects. The monitoring of the hive, new field of continuous observation of the hive ».

Gilles-Eric Seralini (France)
– Professor in molecular biology at the Universities of Caen

« Danger and absence of studies of the impact of GMOs and pesticides, detoxification by plants ».

Alexandra Henrion-Caude (France)
– Director of Research, Inserm, Paris. Director of the company Melipharm providing sterile honey to the general public.

– Alexandra Henrion-Caude sees in the hive “a mobile, sustainable, diversified and universal entity, which supplies us with the most complete pharmacopoeia ».

Thomas D. Seeley (US)
– Professor of biology at Cornell University, author of Honeybee Democracy

» The process of collective decision-making by the colony during swarming ».