Q&A with National Geographic Photographer & Filmmaker Bertie Gregory

Wildlife photographer and filmmaker Bertie Gregory—a National Geographic Young Explorer—has channeled his childhood obsession with wildlife into a prolific career. Since graduating with a degree in zoology from the University of Bristol in 2014, he has shot television shows for Nat Geo WILD and BBC's Planet Earth, and is currently working on a new National Geographic digital series based in South Georgia. We asked Bertie a few questions about his work and what travelers can look forward to on our South Georgia and the Falklands expedition, which he will join in October 2019.

What, for you, are some of the highlights of our South Georgia and the Falklands expedition?

As a wildlife photographer and filmmaker, I've been lucky enough to shoot in some of the wildest places on the planet. South Georgia sits at the top of the list as the most epic by far. I'll never forget the first time its giant snowy peaks appeared from the mist. Just writing that sentence raises the hairs on the back of my neck. South Georgia and the Falklands also present a rich history that demonstrates the very best and worst in our own species.

What makes South Georgia and the Falklands a great subject for photography?

South Georgia and the Falklands are great places for wildlife photography, as the animals possess very little fear of humans. Because they have evolved on islands free of terrestrial predators, rather than spending your time trying to find and get an angle on the wildlife, you can instead focus on watching animal behavior and getting intimate shots of their life cycles.

Tell us about one of your most memorable National Geographic projects.

I'm currently working on a new National Geographic digital series all about the island of South Georgia. I'm bound to secrecy at the moment, but it's certainly the most ambitious and exciting project I've been lucky enough to work on.

How do you hope the experience of visiting these islands will change our travelers?

First and foremost, I hope that everyone has an incredible experience. Beyond that, I hope that every traveler comes away with three key messages. Firstly, our species is capable of doing horrific things to wild places. Secondly, if we give wild places a chance with the right governing and the right protection, it is possible for them to bounce back. Thirdly, let’s make sure that South Georgia isn't the only wild place that gets to experience a turnaround like this.

What motivates you as a photographer and filmmaker?

Wildlife photography and filmmaking give me an excuse to spend lots of time with wildlife. Furthermore, I recognize that I can activate change in others by sharing my work.

Why is travel important?

Given the rapid advancements in technology and our evermore globalized world population, it's easy to think that we're all connected. I believe this is a surface-level connection when in reality, we largely exist in separate bubbles. Travel is important because it begins to break down these bubbles and opens our eyes. In the context of wildlife, if managed correctly, travel can create economic incentives for local communities to look after the natural world around them. As travelers, we can act as ambassadors for the places we visit.