About Peter Cairns, wildlife, nature and conservation photographer, Scotland

The professional stuff...

I've been a freelance nature and conservation photographer since 1998 and am a founding director of The Wild Media Foundation, the Social Enterprise behind projects such as Tooth & Claw, Highland Tiger and 2020VISION. I was a co-founder and Business Director of the pan-European photography initiative Wild Wonders of Europe and in 2015 I founded SCOTLAND:The Big Picture. As part of a dedicated team, we produce compelling visual media that amplifies the case for a wilder Scotland.

In parallel with my work in conservation media, I ran a photographic tour company for 20 years and have long been an advocate for sustainable nature-based tourism as a mechanism for giving wild nature an economic value.

I’m a serving Board Member of Scottish rewilding charity Trees for Life, and a Senior Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers.

The personal stuff...

I’ve never considered myself a proper photographer, not really. Now don’t get me wrong, I love working in wild places and I love close encounters with wild animals, but photography itself - all the geeky stuff – it leaves me a bit cold. What I’m really passionate about is what photography can do. And what it can do is make you think and make you feel. It's that potential for informing and inspiring people about the role of wild nature in our lives, through visual storytelling, that gets me out of bed in the morning.

I live in the Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands and am ably assisted by my lovely wife Amanda, kept in check by our son Sam and find perspective in our bumbling Labrador, Finn. Over the years I’ve travelled quite a bit but these days I work much closer to home - taking pictures, writing text, making films, delivering talks and running photographic retreats. 

A friend once told me: Work hard. Have fun. Do good. I try to do all three.