Research: Nature/Wildlife Photographers

As a starting point of wildlife research, I decided to focus a few examples of well established nature/wildlife photographers, whose work I found influential contextually and/or aesthetically in regards to my own potential approaches.

For this, I want my first example to set the example in format and guidelines for various aspects considered by wildlife photographers.

http://www.discoverwildlife.com/gallery/british-wildlife-gallery-craig-jones

Whilst looking through pages on BBC wildlife, I discovered the work of a British photographer, Craig Jones. Immediately, the first image that was presented to me immediately stood out, expressive, energetic and beautiful in its representation of a flock of wading birds.

Craig Jones –

Craig Jones - BBC

Thousands of waders throng the sky at high tide in Norfolk; the dizzying movement and power of their flight are captured by the slow shutter speed of Craig’s camera.

About the photographer
British wildlife photographer Craig Jones has loved wildlife and nature since his childhood, building his understanding of his subjects as he has developed his skills with the camera. His photographic approach reflects his attitude to wildlife – and he spends as much time watching animals as capturing them on film.
For Craig, the key to photography is in showing respect for nature; by getting close to wildlife without causing any disturbance, he can immerse himself in observing and documenting in detail the creatures that fascinate him.
In many ways, I can respect this attitude to the natural world. As a wildlife or environmental photographer, there must always be a priority when considering the possible impact or disruption that your observations could have upon the chosen site or the inhabiting wildlife. The significance of which, is far more important than the self gain of the photographer themselves. This is which I believe it is importance for me to be well informed in my subject, not just in my photographic abilities.

http://www.craigjoneswildlifephotography.co.uk/

I decided to look upon his official site for further context and visual work. Upon the homepage, there is a brief description alongside a strong and varied portfolio of images upon his photographic slideshow.

Craig Jones captures the beauty of the natural world with his creative and emotional attachment to nature at the very heart of each photo, creating a unique and artistic reflection of his time in the field.

Below I have included a few images that distinguished themselves in their representation of natural subjects. I have defined them by what they communicate to me upon their initial impact.

CJ1

Flight – Landscape

CJ2

Bonding – Animal Portrait

CJ3

Emotion – Animal Portrait

CJ4

Hunting – Animal Portrait

CJ5

Respiration – Landscape

http://www.craigjoneswildlifephotography.co.uk/portfolio.php

From this, I started to look at more specific aspects of his portfolio and methodology.

Browse through my collection of photography, by either clicking on the recent additions or by selecting a gallery title below. All photograph’s can be purchased and are available in a variety of formats. Please select a photo and then click “Buy Photo”.

Alternatively reproduction licences and royalty-free images can be purchased where the fees will be confirmed following confirmation of the size of reproduction and picture usage. Low resolution digital files can be supplied by e-mail for layout purposes and high resolution digital files can be supplied on CD. These can be sold directly to;

  • Conservation/environmental organisations
  • Advertising consultants
  • Education and scientific organisations
  • Book & magazine publishers

Within this section, he reminds the viewer/organisation/potential client of what options are available when considering outright purchases of particular images or limited use of royalty free photos for use upon various relevant sources. I had intended to make further consideration for conservation/environmental organisation and book & magazine publishers during this module. However, it could be worth considering advertising consultants and education and scientific organisations as potential markets in the future.

This page also features two other defining elements:

Recent Additions –

CJ- site layout 1

Categories based upon region or terrain-

CJ- site layout 2

I believe this form of presentation is quite helpful when searching for current and contemporary work or more specific aspects of wildlife imagery, something which will often be the case for clients with a particular angle or narrative in mind.

Due to my recent series of images based at Astley Moss, I decided to highlight upon farmland and pasture.

First Light –

A lone Barn Owl (Tyto alba) flies in the first rays of winter sunshine, hunting over farmland.

CJ - First Light - Farmland & Pasture

This image is an example of the desirable lighting found during the ‘golden hour’, both the barn owl and its surrounding environment are lit by a beautiful golden glow, adding warmth to a harsh, winter morning.

From this, there were various options in regards to presentation, format, canvas and frames.

CJ- frames

CJ- frames price

CJ- canvas price

CJ- print

This reinforced the significant difference between sales of a standard print and a customised, framed photograph.

My second reference is a British wildlife photographer based in Scarborough.

Steve Race

His work is familiar to me through a commissioned piece, featuring in the most recent edition of Natural History Museum’s publication, Wildlife Photographer of the Year (Portfolio 23), as part of birds: behaviour.

Given the opportunity, I would like to see this book in greater depth at some stage. This will most likely be during my research of landscape and wildlife competitions & exhibitions.

Naturalhistory-wildlifephotographeroftheyear23

The featured image is below:

Steve Race-Wildlifephotographeroftheyear23

From this, I decided look upon his official site. 

http://www.steverace.com/Steve_Race_Wildlife_Photography/Home.html

Welcome to the website of award winning wildlife photographer Steve Race.

Here you will find details on my workshops, exhibitions and talks as well as a large collection of wildlife images mainly taken in the UK.  I am based in Scarborough on the Yorkshire Coast this area is amazing with a rich variety of habitats for all kinds of wildlife. I hope you enjoy the site and visit regularly to check out the latest images and events. My work has been published through the RSPB, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and the National Trust. I am also a Director of a new exciting Nature Tourism company called “Yorkshire Coast Nature” in which we deliver nature tours, photography workshops and talks across the Yorkshire Coast.

Upon the homepage, Race offers an basic overview of his photographic practice and the available services that he offers, which appears to update with new content. I also noted his past projects with environmental organisations that I am familiar with such as RSPB and the Natural Trust. Like many other wildlife photographers, he also supports his practice through nature tours and talks throughout the Yorkshire Coast.

http://www.steverace.com/Steve_Race_Wildlife_Photography/Portfolios/Portfolios.html

Steve Race-Portfolio

He also publishes an online blog, following his current wildlife activities and images.

http://racebirding.blogspot.co.uk/

The most recent post relates to an exhibition featuring his work earlier this year, alongside George Stoyle, titled Wild Britain.

Steve Race-WildBritain

 

Another post from March relates to a series based around Mediterranean Gulls whom often take residence in Scarborough during winter.

med_gull3 med_gull4 (1) med_gull4

 

I found this to be quite helpful because it offered an insight into another photographers experimental stages, prior to post production editing or viewing one finalised image. It reassured me that this was all just part of the natural creative process and that it takes multiple visits and patience to achieve the opportunistic, definitive shot(s) that stand apart from the others.

My third reference is Jodie Randall, a British wildlife photographer whose documentation of the natural world started at a young age, 15. I discovered her work when exploring Wild Photos site.

Wild photos is a major wildlife photography event that takes place each year, featuring a large number of expert speakers discussing all things wildlife, which this year included, Jodie Randall.

http://www.wildphotos.org.uk/speakers/jodie-randall/

Jodie Randall

Jodie Randall has been photographing wildlife since she was 15. She first started taking pictures as reference for her paintings, but photography soon took over – a perfect combination with her life-long passion for nature. The majority of Jodie’s photos are taken close to home in the Kent landscape she grew up in and knows so well.

In 2007, aged 17, she was a contributing editor to a student edition of Nature’s Best Photography magazine and went on to become a member of the advisory board and regular contributor to Nature’s Best Photography Students online magazine. Her images have also been featured in British publications.

In 2012, Jodie co-founded the New Shoots blog, which provides a platform for young nature photographers from across the globe to showcase their work.

– See more at: http://www.wildphotos.org.uk/speakers/jodie-randall/#sthash.ZIhSrLGB.dpuf

I was quite impressed with Randall’s drive and motivation in her field, contributing to regular publications throughout her student life, this then led her to support other young nature photographers in her New Shoots blog.

http://newshootsblog.com/

New Shoots is an exciting new initiative by 20 talented young nature photographers all aged under 30.

New Shoots was founded in 2012 by Jodie Randall and Radomir Jakubowski. Our aim is to provide a platform for young people to showcase their work and reach a wider audience.

Each week on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday the photographers will post captivating new images together with engaging accounts revealing the stories behind the shot.

Alongside the 20 contributing photographers from Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Italy, Poland and The Netherlands, there will also be guest slots to exhibit the work of other accomplished young photographers.

New Shoots photographers all share a common connection in their fascination for the natural world. For some of us it is through the thrill of chasing and photographing storms that we find our passion. Many of us love being immersed in a landscape and experiencing nature on a large scale. For others however, there is wonder to be found on a much smaller scale. We look forward to sharing our experiences with you.

With thanks to Stefan Christmann for all of his help in bringing the New Shoots website to life.

Sarah Böhm

Michał Budzyński

Stefan Christmann

Constant Couteille

Daniel Eggert

Jess Findlay

Bertie Gregory

Hermann Hirsch

Radomir Jakubowski

Quentin Martinez

Jodie Randall

Bastien Riu

Steffen Rommel

Magdalena Schaaf

Connor Stefanison

Lukas Thiess

Jérémie Villet

Kevin Winterhoff

Mart Smit

Marco Colombo

One of whom I recognised from previous research, Hermann Hirsch, who recent won the prize for junior photographer at the 2013 Fritz Pölking award.

This certainly appeals to me as a young nature photographer wanting to have my work presented alongside other established practitioners. Perhaps this something that my FMP and exhibition will allow me to expand into.

http://www.jodierandall.co.uk/

From this, I decided to visit Randall’s official page and start to look at examples of her visual work.

jodierandell_homepage

 

Image featured upon homepage.

 

About

Image

My fascination with nature developed at an early age. As a young child, most of my weekends were spent climbing trees in the local woodlands and exploring the Kent countryside with my two elder sisters.

At the age of eleven, I left school to be educated at home. This gave me a certain degree of freedom to pursue the subjects that I was interested in. Having an artistic family, (one of my sisters is a musician, the other an artist) it was through painting and drawing that I chose to express myself before receiving my first SLR camera as a Christmas present aged fifteen.

Regular trips out to photograph the local wildlife with my new camera provided me with plenty of inspiration, and only three months later I had my images accepted into the portfolio section of a popular photographic magazine.

Over the intervening years I continued to experiment, utilizing my knowledge of painting to create artistic images of the natural world with a strong emphasis on composition and colour. During this time I carried out work experience with a photographer from the local paper which taught me some valuable lessons that I could then transfer into my own genre of photography.

I am now working hard towards a career in nature photography, constantly aiming to create images in which aesthetics play a primary role as well as capturing the character of my subjects.

To date, my images have been featured in photographic and natural history publications such as Outdoor Photography, Bird Watching and BBC Wildlife Magazine as well as magazines by the wildlife trusts and the RSPB. I was a contributing editor for a special student edition of Nature’s Best Photography magazine and member of the advisory board and regular contributor to its sister publication Nature’s Best Photography Students. I have gained awards in various photographic competitions, the most recent being the 2010 British Wildlife Photography awards.

My images are marketed through the RSPB’s photo library http://www.rspb-images.com

In 2012 Jodie Randall and Radomir Jakubowski founded NEW SHOOTS Young Nature Photographer’s Blog: A new initiative involving 18 photographers from Britain, France, Germany, Canada and Poland.newshootsblog.com/

At times, this description of her practice was similiar to the feature upon wild photos. However, this was of course more reflexive and in depth. In the past, she has worked with Outdoor Photography, Bird Watching, BBC Wildlife Magazine and the Wildlife Trusts and RSPB. The most reoccurring client/organisation throughout my research has proven to be RSPB, which reinforces the possibility of future work.

Her online photo gallery features various sub categories, some based on location (North Kent Marshes), species (birds) or creative style (Impressions & Forms).

jodierandell_portfolio

 

My final reference is landscape, documentary photographer, Ed Panar. Although he is not formally known as a wildlife photographer has produced a series of urban wildlife images known as Animals That Saw Me. As the title suggests, these are images based upon Panar’s encounters with animals throughout other photographic projects.

Ed Panar –  Animals That Saw Me

http://www.edpanar.com/animals/

What I find really compelling about this series is the way in which the animals themselves are represented within the frame, Panar is seen as the invader where the animals are dominant in their own territory. Each one doesn’t simply just as a record of observation but of a narrative discussing a hidden dialogue between photographer and natural life forms, what reinforces this is the display of character each species offers in its environment. In example, the cautious, guilty expression of a mischievous raccoon.

Much of today’s best wildlife images/films need to go beyond simple observation, they need to create a narrative of their own, often one which expresses animals personality or characteristics.

Ed-Panar_ATSM_07 Ed-Panar_ATSM_08 Ed-Panar_ATSM_09 Ed-Panar_ATSM_10 Ed-Panar_ATSM_11 Ed-Panar_ATSM_18

 

This series also expresses the nature of urban wildlife, the assertive and ingenious ways animals find to survive inside human dominated environments. The examples featured within this show that they not phased by human interaction.

To conclude, I believe this has acting as a very strong started point of my research. I have considered not only aesthetic aspects of contemporary contributions of wildlife/nature photographers but also how they present and market their work, experimentation and reflexive discussion of their practice as well as relevant exhibitions and organisations they have worked for or collaborated with.

I will continue to research further.

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