Profile of Craig Jones, Wildlife Photographer

My love of wildlife started from a young age, learning to respect and care for wildlife was instilled into me by my late mother, who took me to nearby woods and places where wildlife was as a small child. She learnt me about the circle of life, where my food was from. She taught me always to respect wildlife and listen to the woods, listen to nature and it will give up her secrets. Back then being brought up by my mum she couldn’t afford a camera so my trusted 8×40 binoculars where always around my neck or in my bag. 

I learnt very early on that once I came across a wild animal it was down to me how long that encounter would last. Meaning if I was noisy and didn’t respect the subject and did lots of moving around then that would impact on the subject’s life and they would disappear back into the undergrowth. So I learnt to become part of the landscape, often pretending I was the animal and I tried to think like them and act like them.

Using those principles my encounters lasted longer and so my knowledge became better and better. But the most important thing was that the subject I was with was not disturbed or troubled by my presence and this was the most important thing I learnt and is the foundation to my work today.

From those early days I spent so much time being at one with nature, close to and watching, hidden from view on the off chance I would see a certain animal. I distanced myself from children’s games and activities instead heading to a nearby stretch of wilderness within the mass housing estate I grew up in. Learning to get close to wildlife without disturbing the life of the animal, almost forgetting the outside world and becoming part of the animal I was getting close to or watching.

By doing this I could understand the animal better, gaining many skills by observing their behaviours at the same time giving the subject complete respect which allowed me a private window into their personal and private lives.

Those early encounters with nature put into place the platform for my journey to become a wildlife photographer.  My sheer passion for wildlife was born out of a love and fascination of the natural world from a young age upon receiving my first wildlife book called Animal World.

This was an 8th birthday present from my late mum and started my love and fascination for the natural world. I use the medium of photography now as a method to capture the beautiful things I witness in nature, placing a frame around something I have seen, letting the image convey the true beauty of that moment in time that my words could never describe.

This skill is one of many I use within my own wildlife photography today derived from those early encounters with nature. This lose yourself to nature approach enables me to get close enough to capture the animal’s beauty and behaviour which both feature strongly in my style of photography, showing a wild animal within their natural habitat being the foundation to my work today through the images I see then frame through my camera’s viewfinder.

Where my creative and emotional attachment to nature is at the very heart of each image, creating a unique and artistic refection of my time in the field.

My photography covering the plight of the Sumatran Orangutans has been published around the world on the BBC News, BBC Wildlife Magazine and National Geographic magazine. I’ve also appeared for Nat Geo WILD discussing Sumatra as part of the “Paradise Islands & Photo Ark” National Geographic series.

I’ve spoken at the Green Party Conference about palm oil and its effects that I’ve seen firsthand. Spoken at the Natural History Museum in London twice on behalf of those critically endangered Sumatran Orangutans bringing their plight to the public’s attention. 

I work tirelessly to bring about a more ethical approach to wildlife photography and have worked hard to bring this issue to the surface on the Kay Burley Show on Sky News and the Guardian.

I don’t enter photography competitions and so I can’t claim to be “award winning” I never want to use that unconscious bias and message to say I’m better than anyone else. 

My images represent an event that occurred in the wild something that I witnessed and recorded with my camera. My skill lies in interpreting and presenting this in a way that invokes beauty, mood and emotion with each moment captured.

As an ex soldier I try to help those injured by war or trauma. Showing the beauty of the natural world and how it can heal and add such a lot to the person’s life both physically and mentally. I’ve done many podcasts talking about this in the hope his own experiences will help others.

I have never forgotten my roots, my late mother for instilling the beauty of nature into me and my childhood love of wildlife that is behind my work today.

Ethics

Wildlife photography’s power rests on the belief that it represents an event that occurred naturally in the wild; something witnessed and recorded by the photographer with his camera at that given time. Clever use of friendly animals, hot spots, bait and the per-arranged perches or props along with digital technology has forced everyone to re-evaluate and question the validity of images they see now.

As a responsible photographer of wildlife I capture my images as seen on the ground. I always put the welfare of the subjects life and care of the environment above any photograph I take. I never use flash, props, live bait or any bait that will adversely affect the behavior of an animal.

I am always honest in declaring the circumstances under which a photograph has been taken by myself. I never use digital manipulation to misrepresent a subject or mislead the viewer.  

Commissions and Assignments 

I am available for worldwide commissions and conservation assignments where my main experience and expertise being in the natural world and environment subjects. I am enthusiastic and committed to capturing ‘the story’ . I am creative, with the necessary technical ability, I understand animals and animal behaviour and have patience. I am a team player, confident, physically fit and results orientated with valuable transferable skills.

I adapt quickly to changing environments and learn from all experiences. I am passionate about sharing knowledge, ‘best practices’ and skills. I have excellent organisational and planning skills with experience of working under pressure to meet tight deadlines. An Ex- Soldier/Sniper, expert in fieldcraft, survival and tracking skills, trained climber, abselier and PADI diver   

I am proactive, a problem solver with an eye for detail and the ability to think creatively and outside of the box. Most importantly I am committed to helping wildlife and conservation and im driven to document this through the medium of photography.

I am able to go anywhere in the world to assist, document, shadow,  for a commission on a chosen subject, to build a picture of the animal and to tell a story for the general public alone or as part of a team. My ethos is to help others see the beauty of nature in all its glory and in turn educate the importance of conservation.

I am accustomed to working with a range of publishers, charities and agencies, on an independent basic and/or under the direction of an editor. If you wish to enquire further about potential photography assignments then please contact me for further details.