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Wildlife Photographer Of The Year: SUSTAIN+

We interviewed Paddy Scott, a finalist in the Wildlife Photographer Of The Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum.

How many shots does it take for you to get 'the shot'? How many did Unstoppable Force take? 
I think it depends a bit, if you are shooting action and people, it potentially takes more shots than say a landscape as there are more variables that you can't control. However, one of the reasons I love landscape photography is the thought and care that can go in to a single image, planning the framing, waiting for the right light. So often you come away with just 3 or 4 shots but 3 or 4 that you are really happy with. The Unstoppable force is one of a series of about 20 images that I consider ‘usable’. Then there are probably about 10 others that I ditched in the edited because the framing did not work quite as I wanted or the focus is a little soft.

Has there ever been a time where you've seen your life flash before your eyes on an expedition? 
I don’t know about my life flashing before my eyes but there have been a few situations I've thought I've been quite lucky to walk away from! Being held at gunpoint in Crimea in 2015 was definitely one of those, I also knocked myself unconscious kite skiing in the middle of Greenland. But perhaps my most stupid mistake was actually here in the UK, a friend and I capsized a canoe into a frozen lake in Wales and couldn't right it. It took us 20min to swim to shore, luckily someone had seen us and called an ambulance. When the paramedic got me in to the ambulance my temperature was so low it would not register on his thermometer! That was definitely one of my nine lives! You live and learn!
Paddy Scott - Photographer
What's on your bucket list to shoot? 
I think Wildlife, I find exhibitions like the Wildlife Photographer of the Year hugely inspirational and would love to try and shoot more wildlife. Much of my expedition photography though, I have shot while working in that area. Photographing wildlife often takes a much greater investment of time which can be difficult to fit in if your not being paid for it!

What man-made disasters (global effects) have you seen on an expedition?
I think there are too many to pick out.
Whether it is being shown how far a glacier has retreated in Patagonia in the life of just one person, or seeing melt water cascading off the Greenland ice cap when it should be frozen solid. Many of these things are not in the consciousness of the vast majority of the population, I believe that photographers and filmmakers have an important role to play in making people more aware of the issues.

It is often not seeing one large disaster that is most shocking, but the continual reminder that wherever you go, no matter how remote, we are having an effect on the planets wildest places.


We are hosting Sustain+ in September, what environmental topics would you like there to be discussions on & why?
I think plastics are important, our addiction to it is not realistically going to go away, however I really think we need to look at ways of reducing its impact such as using more recyclable plastic. Micro plastics in the food chain are an issue that we are only just beginning to become aware of and have no idea how it will effect health in future generations of all forms of life.
Paddy Scott
I think how we are managing our oceans is a topic that seems to have slipped off the agenda in recent years, we seem to have very little idea of the tipping point where overfishing means sea life will not be able to replenish, and that is an incredibly dangerous thing. If we put our minds to it they can be managed, North Sea Cod, for example, has recovered. 

I think a wider issue is the way we produce food, and the food we choose to consume. We seem to have got out of balance in mass producing foods that shouldn’t be mass produced or mass consumed. This problem is affecting the planets health and our own health. Essential foods need to be made affordable for everyone, but reducing the cost of a hamburger to 99p is not the solution!


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