The 10th-14th of October 2022 provides a chance to hear from six award winning nature photographers at St George’s, Bristol as part of the Explore New Worlds series – a collection of talks, films, podcasts and exhibitions to delight and to challenge. The talks coincide with the Wildscreen festival, a world renowned intentional festival celebrating advances in natural world story telling and bringing together top nature photographers and film-makers from across the world. This is an incredible opportunity to gain a personal insight into the stories behind conservation and nature photography.
Co-founder of the conservation organization SCOTLAND: The Big Picture, Pete Cairns, shares his compelling work on rewilding Scotland and visually stunning film on the importance of Scotland’s salmon. Award winning photographers Neil Aldridge, Matt Maran and Andy Parkinson shed light on the truth about foxes in their talk about their comprehensive and collaborative book FOX: Neighbour Villain Icon. Finally, top underwater photographers Tony Wu and Alex Mustard share fascinating stories behind their beautiful and innovative underwater images.
Pete Cairns will be talking about his fascinating new documentary Riverwoods and the importance of rewilding Scotland.
“I’ve never considered myself a proper photographer,” says Cairns. “Now don’t get me wrong, I love working in wild places and I love close encounters with wild animals, but photography itself leaves me a bit cold. What I’m really passionate about is what photography can do. And what it can do is make you think and make you feel. It’s that potential for informing and inspiring people about the role of wild nature in our lives, through visual storytelling, that gets me out of bed in the morning. A friend once told me: Work hard. Have fun. Do good. I try to do all three.”
Pete Cairns has spent over two decades as a photographer, videographer, nature tourism operator and environmental communicator. He is a co-founder of SCOTLAND: The Big Picture, having previously directed major conservation media initiatives such as Tooth & Claw, Wild Wonders of Europe and 2020VISION. SCOTLAND: The Big Picture works to drive the recovery of nature across Scotland through rewilding.
Take a look at Pete’s images here.
Take a look at images from SCOTLAND: The Big Picture here.
RIVERWOODS: An Untold Story
Produced by rewilding charity SCOTLAND: The Big Picture, Riverwoods is a compelling and visually stunning film that tells the story of Scotland’s salmon. Salmon are fundamentally important to the health of the whole ecology of the region and there is an inextricable relationship between fish and forest. However, Scotland’s life-rich rivers have been greatly diminished. This stunning documentary shines a light on the perilous state of the salmon, but also crucially, how the rivers can be reborn through a shared, realistic vision of restoration and recovery.
Join Pete Cairns, who produced Riverwoods, after the screening, for an emotive and powerful talk about rewilding. Book your tickets here.
REWILDING SCOTLAND: Changing Hearts and Minds
Pete Cairns will present a visually stunning and thought-provoking piece on changing people’s attitudes to making our world wilder. Afterwards, Pete will discuss this complex subject with Mary Colwell, local award winning author, producer and campaigner for nature.
Mary’s articles have appeared in the Guardian, BBC Wildlife Magazine, The Tablet, Country Life and many other publications. She has made documentaries for the BBC Natural History Unit in both TV and radio, and has published three books, with a forth coming soon. She has won many awards for her work, including the Dilys Breese Medal by the BTO for outstanding science communication in 2017 and the WWT Marsh Award for Conservation in 2019. Her efforts have resulted in the establishment of a GCSE in Natural History. Furthermore, she was appointed Chair of the Curlew Recovery Partnership England in 2021 and set up the charity, Curlew Action in 2020.
Book your tickets here.
FOX: Neighbour Villain Icon
Neil Aldridge, Matt Maran and Andy Parkinson’s photo book FOX: Neighbour Villain Icon is the most comprehensive about one of Britain’s best known predators. Their powerful and sensitive images shed light on the truth about foxes, and seek to dispel many of the myths that malign society’s attitudes towards these enigmatic animals. They will present their work featured in the book and join in conversation with Mary Colwell author of Beak, Tooth and Claw, Living with predators.
Neil Aldridge says, “I love the fact that we have been able to collaborate with a whole series of writers: people who are studying foxes in our towns, or saving them from hunts, or living alongside foxes on our farms and in our countryside. These are real stories from all across the country.”
Andy Parkinson says, “I have a genuine passion for foxes. I have worked with them for the last 10 to 15 years, and a huge motivation for me is to show the beauty, show the worth, and show the value of these incredible icons of our countryside.”
Matt Maran says, “By understanding that our space is also their habitat we can foster greater compassion and respect for foxes.”
Click here to see images from FOX: Neighbour Villain Icon.
Book your tickets here.
Neil Aldridge, Matt Maran and Andy Parkinson
Neil Aldridge, Matt Maran and Andy Parkinson are award winning photographers who have been photographing foxes collectively for more than 20 years. In 2022 these three talents combined their creativity and published the book, FOX: Neighbour Villain Icon. Read on to learn more about these inspiring photographers and about their talk on the story behind this captivating book…
Neil Aldridge is a conservationist, photographer and filmmaker, as well as a professional wildlife guide, speaker and author. His photography has won awards all over the world, including winning the World Press environment category, the overall title of European Wildlife Photographer of the Year and the NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism award for environmental storytelling. His work has been published by National Geographic and BBC Wildlife magazine.
Aldridge is passionate about conservation. He focuses his efforts on creating stories that increase our understanding and awareness of conservation issues and inspire change. Neil’s stories have documented efforts to save Africa’s wild dogs and pangolins, as well as stories from the British countryside about the controversial badger cull debate, pheasant shooting and our relationship with foxes. However, rhinos have always been close to Neils heart. in 2016 he supported Rhino Conservation Botswana promote its work and secure funds for the movement of rhinos to Botswana, as well as their subsequent monitoring and protection. He continues to support their conservation today.
Take a look at Neil’s images here.
Since 2000 Matthew Maran has travelled the world, winning awards for his landscape and wildlife photography in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year, European Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and the British Wildlife Photography Awards. Matt’s images have been published in The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, BBC Wildlife and National Geographic Magazines and has also published three books under his own imprint, Hemisphere Publishing.
Matt works with commercial and non-profit organisations to showcase conservation efforts taking place on their land in the form of books and video. Running private and group workshops, Matt helps people to engage with nature through photography, encouraging them to explore ideas and themes with an end product, such as a book or archival print. His aim is to highlight the importance of conserving our natural world.
Take look at Matt’s images here.
Andy is a feature contributor to National Geographic magazine, a Nikon Europe Ambassador (Wildlife) and is one of Europe’s most awarded photographers. With more than 80 individual awards featuring in excess of 130 images his photographs consistently feature in all the world’s most prestigious wildlife photographic competitions. He has been named Overall Winner of the Big Picture Natural World, Overall Winner of Bird Photographer of the Year and is most prolific photographer in the history of the British Wildlife Photography Awards.
Andy works exclusively with animals and birds that are wild and free and is renowned for his uncompromisingly ethical approach, abhorring those that put their pursuit of images before the welfare of their subjects. He is an ardent supporter of extending rights to all animals, not just the ones with which we share our homes. He is frequently outspoken on photography ethics, conservation, animal rights and environmental issues and is keen to pass on his knowledge.
Take a look at Andy’s images here.
Join top underwater photographers Tony Wu and Alex Mustard as they share fascinating stories and beautiful photos of their underwater expeditions.
Wild British Seas by Alex Mustard: When forced to stay at home in Britain during Covid pandemic, Alex turned to his passion and immersed himself in underwater adventures. He took to the UK’s seas revealing a surprising range of engaging creatures.
Something Old Something New by Tony Wu: Tony is a master at capturing unique animal behaviour underwater. Tony spent years with whales observing and photographing their lives before deciding to concentrate on lesser-known creatures off the coast of Japan where he lives. His fascinating discoveries surprise and delight.
Book your tickets here.
Alex Mustard and Tony Wu
Alex Mustard and Tony Wu are world renowned underwater photographers. Read on to learn more about their fascinating careers and their talks on the stories behind underwater photography….
Alex Mustard has been taking underwater photos since he was 9 years old and has worked as a full time underwater photographer for over 20 years. He has a Ph.D. in marine ecology and in 2018 he was made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours ‘for services to Underwater Photography’. He has won many awards, including regularly in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year – appearing in 14 different books of winning pictures in the last 20 years, and is six-time category winner in the British Wildlife Photography Awards.
Alex is best known for sharing the techniques and fieldcraft behind his images. His book Underwater Photography Masterclass is the go-to instructional text on the topic and he teaches popular underwater photography workshops around the world. He is seen by many as the best underwater photographer in the UK.
Take a look at Alex’s images here.
Tony Wu’s lifelong association with the sea started when he was a child. A crab pinched his toe, and it was love at first ouch. Now that he’s (somewhat) grown up, Tony devotes most of his time to researching and documenting rarely seen marine animals and environments, spending more days at sea that he does on land. He owns more pairs of fins than he does shoes.
In recent years, Tony has devoted the bulk of his time to the challenging pursuits of photographing large cetaceans such as humpbacks, sperm whales and blue whales, as well as documenting spawning aggregations, which are essentially orgies involving thousands of sex-crazed fish. His latest project is exploring the varied and diverse marine environments of Japan, which encompass everything from tropical to Arctic environments, as well as many unique habitats in between. His work has won him many awards including in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
“It’s easiest to answer, ‘photographer’ when someone asks what I do, but I have come to consider myself a photo-naturalist,” says Wu. “I don’t think it’s an official word but it should be. The closest definition is ‘An expert in or student of natural history,’ with natural history defined as: ‘The scientific study of animals or plants, especially as concerned with observation rather than experiment, and presented in popular form.’ That describes me.”
Take a look at Tony’s images here.
Book tickets to all three talks here.
Learn more about St Georges here.