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Photo of the Week

The dramatic volcanic coastline of Hillswick in North West mainland Shetland is dotted with sea stacks. These vertical pillars of granite were formed from the erosion of a larger landmass of schists and gneiss, leaving the granite towers behind.

Photograph by Laurie Campbell

About Laurie Campbell

Born in Berwick-upon-Tweed in 1958 and with a life-long interest in the natural world, Laurie Campbell has dedicated almost forty years to photographing Scotland’s distinctive wildlife, flora and landscape. In the beginning his aim was simple, to show what he had witnessed to others who might have neither the time nor the inclination to go out into the field and experience nature in as much detail for themselves. After graduating from a four year degree course in photography at Napier University in Edinburgh he continued accumulating stocks of photographs from the natural world and in 1985 became arguably Scotland’s first full-time professional nature photographer. His imagery is published across a range of media internationally and is widely recognised for its distinctive style and his preference for using natural light and belief in photographing subjects just as he finds them in the field. 

Inspiration for his work comes from simply adopting an open-minded approach believing, strongly that there is limitless photographic potential in virtually everything in the natural world, regardless of how common it may be. Being a generalist makes him receptive to a wide range of subjects from lichens to golden eagles and it is this which has helped him appreciate how different habitats work and with it, the interdependence between species. His archive of over 180,000 images is the largest of any single photographer specialising in recording Scottish flora, fauna and landscape and in recognition of the effect that his photography has had, he was voted to be included in ‘Highland Naturalists’ an exhibition staged at Great Glen House, Scottish Natural Heritage’s headquarters in Inverness. The exhibition featured thirty people from the past 300 years whose work have significantly contributed to the understanding and enjoyment of the natural history in the Scottish Highlands. Which is exactly why he became involved in photographing the natural world in the first place. 

Similarly, he was given a 'Lifetime Achievement Award' in the RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards 2014 in recognition of the effect his photography has had in conservation in Scotland.

As well as contributing to various television and radio programmes, Laurie has also authored three books ‘The Wildlife Photographs of Laurie Campbell’, the bestselling ‘RSPB Guide to Bird & Nature Photography’ and his most recent, published in July 2014 and co-authored with Anna Levin, 'Otters Return to the River' charts the return of otters to the Tweed river system near his home over two decades. He has also received commissions to illustrate many others including, ‘Golden Eagles’, ‘The Great Wood of Caledon’, ‘Badgers’, ‘Wild Scotland’, ‘The Cairngorm Reindeer’ and ‘Highlanders’ featuring Scotland’s ancient breed of long-haired cattle. Laurie has also written and illustrated a long-running column about nature photography in 'Outdoor Photography' magazine, each month since issue number one in June 2000. 

Major commissioned photography have included projects from Scottish Natural Heritage to extensively photograph the National Nature Reserves of Beinn Eighe in Wester Ross and the Island of Rum in the Hebrides together with the reintroduction of white-tailed sea eagles and red kites to Scotland. At present, he is working on a long-term commission for the North Harris Trust to document the natural history and landscape of the 62,000 acre community owned estate.

His experience in photography means that he is in constant demand as a lecturer and photographic workshop leader, both in the UK and throughout Europe. He has taught photography since the late 1970's and for the past eight years has run several very successful week-long nature photography programmes each year at the Aigas Field Centre in the Scottish Highlands. He is also valued as a photographic judge and has been invited onto the panel for the prestigious ‘BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year’, a competition in which he has previously won twenty three awards. 

Looking toward the future, Laurie is content to continue working in Scotland, re-visiting sites he knows well and documenting their natural history further. He currently lives in rural Berwickshire beside the river Tweed with his wife Margaret and two sons.

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