Stefano Unterthiner… A Voice For Nature

Franco Picciurro, Reporter

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Stefano Unterthiner is the one who is stepping up and spreading awareness to something really important that needs to be done. Stefano spreads awareness to this big problem by selling prints and books and uses the money he earns to help save the animals all around the world that are in desperate need of help and care. Plus, he specializes in telling the life stories of animals, living in close contact with his chosen species for long periods of time. He also has a strong commitment to wildlife conservation and environmental issues, with a particular interest in the interactions between people and animals. Stefano now travels regularly around the world in search of new subjects for his photo stories.

Stefano is a regular prizewinner in the international Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition and a member of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP). Unterthiner lives with his wife Stéphanie in the Aosta Valley, Italy. Stefano’s contributions to help the animals and nature have been many. Stefano Unterthiner is a photojournalist that goes around the world to help either the animals or their home. During his years of study, Stefano never stopped taking photographs around the world, and on his mountains, the Italian Alps. In 2000, when he received the PHD, he began the career as a professional wildlife photographer and writer. A few months later, one of his works won the prestigious “Mario Pastore” prize for best young environmental journalist. Stefano is the authors of five photographic books, he’s a regular prize-winner in the international BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, and his work is featured internationally in magazines such as National Geographic, GEO, BBC Wildlife, Terre Sauvage, Animan, and Airone. In September 2004, Stefano received the “Premio Nazionale di Ecologia Luigiano d’oro”, a prize awarded every year to Italians who distinguish themselves in their efforts regarding the preservation of nature. Stefano received this important award for his work on endangered wildlife. In March 2007, Stefano becomes a member of the ILCP, the International League of Conservation Photographers.

Growing up in a small mountain village in northwest Italy, Stefano Unterthiner spent his early years photographing in the Gran Paradiso National Park and trekking around the beautiful mountains of the Aosta Valley region. He began serious photography at the age of 17, went on to study zoology and, in the fall of 2000, obtained a PHD. from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. After completing his studies, Unterthiner returned to Italy and began his career as a zoologist. But his camera was always at his side, and it was not long before his hobby turned into an all-consuming lifestyle and profession. Today he is considered one of the most original and innovative nature photographers.

“I like nature photography mainly because it gives me the possibility to stay out in the wild. Since I was a child, I loved to spend time in nature; I grew up in a small mountain village, where I learned how much fun it can be to discover the nature around your home. Moreover, I am a storyteller (that doesn’t mean I talk too much….) I like the possibility to tell “stories” of wild animals through my images. That’s what I can do with nature photography.” – Stefano Unterthiner.

Stefano also likes to study the interactions that animals have with people. Not only do his pictures have a meaning, they have a deep story swirling behind them. Widely published in magazines worldwide, he is the author of seven photography books and a multi-award winning in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition. Since 2009, Stefano is a regular contributing photographer for National Geographic Magazine. He lives with his wife Stéphanie and his children Rémi and Bahia in the Aosta Valley, Italy.

Stefano has a lot of pieces of work and it was so hard to find my favorites. My personal top five favorites were Il Sentiero Perduto, In Search of the Puma, The Nights of the Bear, Golden Eagle, and Cape Ground Squirrel. I admire the way the pictures were taken; it looks so real and natural. My favorite out of the five is Il Sentiero Perduto. I just love how it looks like you are right there and you could touch it just look how realistic and alive! Another great thing about his work is how rich the colors are and how much detail he was able to capture. I enjoy that Stefan is known for telling stories with the pictures he takes of wildlife. He just has an unreal amount of passion for nature and the animals in need and that’s why I love his work.