Niall Benvie. +44 78987 88 2 55 ; email@example.com ; Skype niallbenvie
• Founder of the Scottish Nature Photography Fair (1991)
• Pioneer of amphibious hide bird photography in the UK (1994)
• Organiser of Photographers for Latvia (2002)
• Founding Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (2005)
• Initiator of the Photo-Lobbying concept (2005)
• Founding Director of Wild Wonders of Europe (2006)
• Co- founder of Rewilding Childhood (2007)
• Co-founder Meet Your Neighbours (2009)
• Chief copy writer for 2020Vision (2010)
• Thousands of publication credits, internationally
• No to “eco-porn”!
• No to “nature-photo brothels”!
• More than 500 000 published words – five books, reviews and opinion -forming articles, including books:
• The Art of Nature Photography,Creative Landscape Photography (UK, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese, UK and US editions); Scotland’s Wildlife (with NTS) and Outdoor Photography Masterclass (2010); Caledonia (2010) with Pete Cairns .
and articles including:
• The State of the Art
• The Edge
• Developing a Great Mouth for a Picture
• Creativity and Addiction
• Why it’s Good to Talk
• The International League of Conservation Photographers
• The Art of Disconnection
- BioFoto, Trondheim, 2004
- Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, Tel Aviv, 2005
- World Wilderness Congress, Anchorage, 2005
- BVNF (Belgian Nature Photographers) congress, 2005
- Wild Photos (NPOY), Bristol 2006
- Wunderwelten Festival, Lindau, 2007
- AEFONA, Granada, 2007
- Green Exercise NHS / FC, Cumbernauld, 2007
- Wild Photos, London, 2009
- GDT, Lünen, Germany 2010
- CAM, Alicante, 2011
- AEFONA, Seville, 2011
“Travelling through Amsterdam airport recently, it occurred to me that people fall broadly into two categories; escalator riders and escalator runners. The rider is a person who, when given an advantage, uses it to have an easier life. In contrast, the runner doesn’t slacken his pace and uses that advantage to make progress that was previously impossible…I too have got a second wind and am now happily trotting up that neighbouring escalator. I’m a “recovering nature photographer”, trying to put the old habits and ways of doing things behind me and letting style be dictated by concept and content.”
“In light of the unfolding environmental catastrophe of the 21st century, I feel it’s a bit frivolous – not to say misleading – to continue to focus only on pristine environments and charismatic fauna without taking into account the state of the wider environment and people’s relationship with it. So long as landscape and wildlife photographers continue to do this, we can’t expect to be taken seriously as contributors to the debate on how we should balance the needs of nature and culture.”
“Childhood was a very difficult time for me. Neither of my children ever did as they were told.”
“In out-running Mother Nature, the smart human kids have been looking over their shoulder too much to gloat without noticing the swamp they are heading towards.”
Niall has worked as a professional outdoor photographer and writer since graduating from Dundee University (Geog., Hons.) in 1993 after an earlier career as a fruit farmer. His special interest is in the nature / culture dynamic, although his writing covers topics as diverse as digital imaging and peat extraction issues in the Baltic states, eco-tourism and image critique.
Author and illustrator of three internationally published books (and five in total), he is also a founding Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers. Niall has two children who often participate in his photography.
“I like working in places few other people have photographed well before. And that needn’t be anywhere very remote. I don’t do “nature photo brothels” where people pay their money to shoot the same animals in the same settings that hundreds of other photographers have done before them.
I need to take/make photographs; it’s more than something I like doing – it’s a craving that needs to be satisfied. And it doesn’t ever go away.”
Of his white background work:
“I’ve been shooting plants, reptiles, invertebrates and amphibians against pure white backgrounds for a couple of years now as a way to reveal features often missed or obscured in traditional photographic approaches. These pictures celebrate the subject’s form rather than commenting on its place in an ecosystem. While this is hardly original, the twist I’ve put on it is to backlight the Perspex behind the subject. Not only does this ensure a uniform R 255 G 255 B 255 background (saving designers from having to make cut outs) but also allows the subject’s translucent qualities to be shown. The resulting images are virtually shadow free, rendering maximum detail. And crucially, all the pictures are made in a field studio rather than back at home.”
This has now morphed into Meet Your Neighbours, an initiative organised with colleague Clay Bolt currently engaging around 40 photographers worldwide, all shooting to the same protocol. MYN is all about representing common, often overlooked species in people’s communities in a way that re-engages interest in them: on white, backlit, big and in lots of detail. For many people, the plants and animals they rub shoulders with are their main, perhaps only contact with the natural world and as such they have a particular value. Get people enthused about the bugs in their backyard and there is more chance they will take an interest in the greater natural world. Our core message: biodiversity begins at home. About half of the participating photographers have conservation NGO partners who are committed to having the work see in local communities.
Nostalgia for Snow. Revisiting work substantially from Images from the Edge’s archive, this mini project due for completion at the end of 2009, has the losses associated with climate change as its core theme. Contemporary images of seabird species and alpine flowers that will disappear as warming proceeds and its impact on various cultural activities such as ice fishing and skiing are illustrated in a retro. style, as if being viewed in 30 years hence.