“I see photography as a powerful tool for conservation” – Alison Buttigieg, wildlife photographer

Newsbook caught up with Alison Buttigieg, a Maltese wildlife photographer (and IT Project Manager for a Nordic Bank) who has been living in Helsinki, Finland for 14 years. You can read the full article here.

Alison Buttigieg got her first camera when she started travelling in 2003. “At first I was just documenting my experiences to keep as memories, but I soon started to take a keen interest in the art of photography itself. 2012 was a turning point for me when I decided to take photography much more seriously,” she explains.

Alison grew up with wildlife-related books and watching nature documentaries. With the eventual booming of the internet and social media she was also exposed to many amazing wildlife photos.

“I didn’t only want to look at them, I wanted to try to make my own!” she says, “There are many photographers who I greatly admire, but my original idols are Jonathan and Angela Scott – when I was a teenager I came across them in the BBC Big Cat Diaries series documenting the lives of big cats in the Masai Mara in a new and refreshing way – I knew the moment I saw the first episode that no matter what I had to get to Africa and experience the same things myself. They are great photographers and their TV series have inspired so many people to care about the animals they were filming.”

Alison has always loved animals, so naturally when she started to travel she gravitated towards natural places with an abundance of wildlife.

I would like to do my little part to help connect people to nature via my photos

“With my growing interest in photography it was inevitable that I would specialise in this niche. I am also very passionate about conservation and I see photography as a powerful tool – through social media I would like to do my little part to help connect people to nature via my photos,” she says.

The Stranglehold Alison Buttigieg
The Stranglehold | Photo credit: Alison Buttigieg

Alison’s most well-known photo is a photo of a mother cheetah teaching her young cubs to hunt. The mother is holding an impala by the neck while one of her youngsters is trying to do the same. This photo was recently included in the photography book ‘Remembering Cheetahs’, part of the ‘Remembering Wildlife’ book series which to date has raised $1,000,000 for various conservation projects, and features the best wildlife photographers from around the world.

“I took this photo in the Maasai Mara in Kenya where we had the privilege to follow a cheetah hunt from start to finish,” she explains, “In the photo, Narasha the cheetah was holding this impala by the throat so that her youngsters could practice their killing skills. For some reason the impala was totally frozen on the spot yet to my eyes its expression seemed to convey defiance. This photo was taken in a completely natural setting, no bait was used.”

Wildlife photography is a very rewarding and therapeutic activity Alison says, and nowadays mobile phones have put a camera into almost everyone’s pocket.

“With a little bit of patience and creativity you can get excellent results,  no matter where you live and what photographic equipment you have. There has also never been a better time to learn – there are many tutorials, including free ones, available online to help you get started and advance in your craft,” she states.

Cheetah-Cubs_AlisonButtigieg
Cheetah cubs | Photo credit: Alison Buttigieg“With a little bit of patience and creativity you can get excellent results,  no matter where you live and what photographic equipment you have. There has also never been a better time to learn – there are many tutorials, including free ones, available online to help you get started and advance in your craft,” she states.

See some more beautiful photography in our monthly wildlife photography takeovers.

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