Inside this issue
Niall Benvie has been a professional photographer, writer, guide and designer for 25 years and with his wife, Charlotte, runs Food and Photography Retreats Ltd.
In 2012 I paused by my local river and everything changed. I’ve moved away from what many expect photographs to be: my images deconstruct the literal and reimagine the subjective, reflecting the curiosity that water has inspired in my practice. Water has been my conduit: it has sharpened my vision, given me permission to experiment and continues to introduce me to new ways of seeing.
When I started my research for this interview I knew of several Nialls – nature photographer, author, co-founder of Wild Wonders of Europe, workshop leader, passionate advocate for enhanced knowledge of and connection with the nature on our doorsteps, yet it is only in preparing my questions that I start to fully register the breadth and depth of Niall’s interests and work.
Most people recognise that professional photographers need a variety of income streams to survive these days, but this is possibly the broadest and most carefully considered portfolio of commercial and personal work that I have come across to date, and beautifully presented to boot. Niall has referred to what he does as “Nature photography with creative intent”. Tell us more!
Would you like to begin by telling readers a little about yourself – where you grew up, your education and early interests, and what that led you to?
Well, my name is Niall Benvie (as in “kneel”) and I’m an Angus man. Our family has a long association with this part of eastern Scotland. I grew up on the small farm my parents bought in 1948 when Dad left the army. These were the days when you could make a good living off just 80 acres of land and allow your children to dream. Dad’s real passion was breeding Australian parakeets and finches and he was very successful in this field, exporting birds all around Europe. But he was also a fine naturalist (and planted trees on the farm just because he thought it was the right thing to do) and greatly encouraged my obsession with birds from about 10 onwards.
As the only person in my secondary school actively interested in the natural world, I learned to plough my own furrow pretty early on.