Wymondham photographer and filmmaker’s amazing work
JOSH JAGGARD started out taking pictures of insects in his Norfolk back garden, moved on to snapping lizards on a family holiday and now works full time as a wildlife photographer and film-maker.
Just 26 years old, his work has already been shown in art galleries and on television – and impressed David Attenborough.
Josh, who grew up in Hingham and lives near Wymondham, spends much of his time filming and photographing otters, mainly in Norfolk and Shetland and has even invented a special raft to help him get the best shots of the elusive creatures.
“Otters are a real passion/addiction of mine,” said Josh. “I have always liked wildlife but my passion for it only really came out during the last year of school at Wymondham College. Sport used to take over my life but then wildlife took over.”
Josh was still at university, studying marine and natural history photography at University College Falmouth when he began getting commissions for his pictures.
He now sells photographs to magazines and papers, plus cards and framed prints and this year had two exhibitions at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Cley Marshes visitor centre, with more to come in 2018.
And, for four months every spring and summer, he lives in Shetland, photographing and filming his beloved otters, and working as a photography guide, taking people out to find and take pictures of wildlife including otters, puffins, gannets and even whales.
For the rest of the year he is based just outside Wymondham, and despite the wild grandeur of Shetland, Josh said his own back garden is still one of his favourite places for photography.
His films have appeared on national television, beginning four years ago when his footage of otters on the river at Thetford was broadcast as part of the BBC’s Springwatch programme. “I was lucky enough to spend three months with the pair of otters in the town before anyone else knew about
it,” said Josh, who has also filmed eels in Norfolk’s River Glaven for the Rivers Trust.
Sometimes a single shot might take weeks of planning, tracking and waiting.
The floating hide he began developing during his degree allows him to lie just centimetres above the water, in lakes, rivers, estuaries and the sea, camouflaged by netting. “I custom-built it to take some of my weight and my camera, so when I’m lying on it, it’s level. I’m in a wetsuit with my lower body and legs in the water, allowing me to swim it around and towards my subjects.”
With its help he has captured breathtaking shots of birds and animals including otters, grebes, egrets, waders, and deer. “I love to shoot at eye level with my subject and the hide allows me to get much closer then normal. I’ve had kingfishers within touching distance.”
It also helped him win the admiration of television wildlife superstar Sir David Attenborough.
When Sir David was in Cley to open the Simon Aspinall Wildlife Education Centre, a film Josh made for the Norfolk Wildlife Trust was showing, featuring some of Norfolk’s rarest animals and how the trust helps them. “Due to his tight schedule he was only meant to watch a couple of minutes but after he started watching he asked to see the whole film and turn the volume up,” said Josh. “It was a dream to meet him and incredible that he watched one of my films and gave me great comments on my filming skill. It doesn’t get much better then that!”
Josh thinks of himself as a naturalist who uses photography and film and hopes his pictures will inspire other people to take a closer look at the wildlife around them. “A lot of it we are losing, and the more people that take an interest and help the better,” he said.
Wildlife photographer Josh Jaggard