Capturing Nature’s Tapestry: The Visionary Odyssey of Hugh Lansdown

Traversing Continents, Unveiling Tales, and Fostering Wilderness Wisdom

PHOTO: Exploring the Wild: Hugh Lansdown, Welsh Wildlife Photographer & Author

In a world where every corner holds a story, some have made it their life’s work to capture these narratives through lenses, words, and unwavering dedication. Hugh Lansdown, a luminary Welsh wildlife photographer, embodies this pursuit, traversing continents and delving into the intricate lives of creatures often unseen.

His journey isn’t just about freezing moments in time; it’s a testament to exploring untamed realms and weaving them into the fabric of our consciousness. Lansdown’s work isn’t confined to the visual realm alone; it’s an immersive odyssey that transcends pages, fostering a deep-rooted connection between readers and the natural world.

In an exclusive interview with The Reader’s House, Hugh unveils the essence of his literary and photographic expedition. From his childhood immersed in the wonders of wildlife literature to traversing the globe, capturing rare species in their natural habitat, Lansdown’s story is a testament to passion incarnate.

His insights into classic literature, his reading habits during the creative process, and the nexus between his voracious appetite for knowledge and his craft all contribute to a narrative that goes beyond conventional storytelling. Lansdown’s commitment to accuracy, merging scientific precision with captivating storytelling, showcases his dedication to enlightening young minds about the marvels of the natural world.

With every turn of the page, readers will delve into Lansdown’s world—a world painted vividly by his lens and articulated beautifully through his words. His upcoming ventures into the wilds of India and Sri Lanka and his imminent releases about the enigmatic wildlife of Madagascar and South Africa promise to be enriching escapades for eager minds hungry for discovery.

Join us as we embark on an expedition of words and visuals, guided by the passion and wisdom of Hugh Lansdown. His tales promise to ignite a flame of curiosity, fostering a newfound appreciation for the delicate dance of life in its purest, unadulterated form.

Hugh Lansdown is a Welsh wildlife photographer who has travelled extensively, and his images have appeared in hundreds of books, magazines and other publications across the globe. He is also heavily involved in wildlife conservation at home in Wales, working for local wildlife charities, carrying out habitat management work and giving talks about the environment and conservation. He is the author of a series of children’s books about wildlife from different countries around the world which are based on his photos, and include links to various on-line media.

Are there any classic novels that you only recently read for the first time?

I recently read Lolita by Nabokov. I didn’t know anything about the book before reading it except that it was a ‘classic’, so it took me rather by surprise! I couldn’t quite believe what I was reading… simultaneously struggling to keep going while unable to put it down. I don’t believe an author alive today would be able to write such a book… and I’m not quite sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

What do you read when you’re working on a book? And what kind of reading do you avoid while writing?

Although I do love to relax with a good novel, the vast majority of my reading is non-fiction. I have a hunger to know more about the world as it was in the past and is today, so I read lots of historical accounts of people and events, especially biographies of influential figures both politically and culturally.

As a non-fiction author, there’s nothing I avoid reading while I’m writing but my work involves a lot of research into the country I’m writing about and the wildlife that lives there and this naturally influences my reading. Although I’m writing for children, I particularly focus on detailed scientific research into the animals and their lives so I can ensure my work is accurate, while at the same time including surprising and interesting facts my readers might not have been aware of.

What kind of reader were you as a child? 

I was an avid reader as a child, as were my parents and as my own children are now… it’s deeply embedded in the family! I read almost anything I could get my hands on, which in a house filled with books wasn’t difficult; from Gerald Durrell to Zane Gray, Alistair MacLean to Tolkien and of course anything about wildlife!

What books do you find yourself returning to again and again?

That’s easy… wildlife books! With 10,000 species of bird in the world, over 6,000 species of mammal and literally millions of invertebrates I can never get close to learning enough about them all.

What do you plan to read next?

Right now I’m reading Alfred Russel Wallace’s ‘The Malay Archipelago’ which is a ‘must-read’ book for a wildlife photographer with his detailed accounts of the natural history he encountered during his travels. However, considering he was a 19th century scientist, I have been surprised at how well-written and entertaining the book is, so my next book will be another of his… probably ‘Island Life’.

How did you get started in wildlife photography?

Well, I was always interested in wildlife as a child and did a lot of conservation work when I was young, studying different types of animals in the field. Then when I was older I started coming across rare animals in places they weren’t expected and I needed photos as evidence… and it just developed from there.

I see from your website that you’ve done a lot of travelling around the world. How many different countries do you have photos from?

Oh, too many to count! I’ve been very lucky with the opportunities I’ve had to travel. My main income used to come from teaching, and at different times I worked in both Asia and Africa, providing a golden opportunity to explore the region with my cameras at weekends and in school holidays.

Do you have any more photographic trips planned for the future?

Yes, I’m off to the Western Ghats in southern India in January in search of tigers and sloth bears, and from there I’ll go and spend a week exploring some of Sri Lanka’s national parks.

When can we expect your next book?

Well actually, the next one should be out in a few weeks’ time. It’s about the wildlife of Madagascar and is currently being proofed ready for publication in the New Year.

Will there be any more after that?

Yes, definitely! The next in the series about the wildlife of South Africa is almost finished and should be out by Easter… and then I’ll start work on a volume about the wildlife of Japan. There’s so much incredible wildlife in the world, and I think it’s really important that people know how special it is and the importance of working to conserve it.

PHOTO: Nature’s Symphony: A Glimpse into the Untamed Serenade.


Amazon review of ‘Wildlife of the World: China’:
“What a beautiful book! The pages are full of such eye catching photographs of the most extraordinary animals and incredible settings, it is impossible not to be drawn in and want to find out more about them. Perfect to capture any reader’s attention.”

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