Wildlife has fascinated Roger from early childhood. His mother used to say he watched birds from the pram. A little scepticism might be in order, but one defining moment does stick in his mind. At the age of six a classmate at primary school produced a lizard from his pocket and offered it to him for 3d (three old pence). He had never seen one before. "Where did you get it?", he asked. "If you come with me after school, I will show you", was the reply. Whether the 3d changed hands or not, he can't remember. But as a result of this encounter they became constant companions, spending countless hours exploring the local countryside. They were fortunate to live within walking distance of the South Downs, river Adur and the sea. Other school friends were important too; virtually all have retained their interest in the natural world and remain in touch to this day
School was followed by a biology degree. It was good training in many ways and he enjoyed student life. The next four years were spent at the British Trust for Ornithology, right at the start of the Common Bird Census, when toxic farm chemicals were such an issue. It was important work and had seemed like a natural progression for someone with his interests. The reality was that he felt totally boxed in by an operation that was primarily academic.
Roger got married while at the BTO and it was his wife who triggered a change of direction. They had both developed an interest in antiques. Gina was a natural businesswoman and he was quite good at furniture restoration. The combination worked well and they were soon able to support themselves with a full-time occupation.
Throughout his teens, he used to draw and paint birds. On consolidation of the business, this artistic streak re-emerged in a different form. He started messing about with a cine camera in the early 70's and soon switched to stills. Subject matter, as ever, was wildlife. It was just a hobby at first but gradually evolved into a commercial enterprise. In 1978 his pictures were accepted by what was to be the first of several wildlife agencies. Since then his work has appeared in numerous magazines and publications worldwide.
He was granted a Fellowship in the Royal Photographic Society in 1992 after assessment of 20 pictures of birds in song. His interest in bird song was further developed in production of a video of singing birds. A second followed; this time an identification guide to British butterflies.
Roger Wilmshurst FRPS
Tel: 01903 892210
Fax: 01903 893376
Web site: www.nature-pictures.co.uk