Visual storytelling about nature and people

A photograph can’t coerce.
It won’t do the moral work for us,
but it can start us on the way.
— Susan Sontag


About Joris van Alphen

Joris van Alphen on assignment in Peru
(Photo: Joris van Alphen / National Geographic)

 Joris van Alphen on assignment in Bhutan (Photo: Christian Ziegler / National Geographic)

Joris van Alphen on assignment in Bhutan
(Photo: Christian Ziegler / National Geographic)

Joris van Alphen is a photojournalist and filmmaker specializing in stories about nature and people. He is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and a National Geographic Explorer.

From camping in the canopy of a fig tree deep in the Amazon rainforest, to diving unexplored coral reefs in the northern Moluccas, Joris has extensive experience working in remote locations under challenging conditions. Growing up with biologists as parents, he embarked on his first field expedition to Africa at the age of three. He went on to study biology himself, but left a career in science to become a full-time photographer and filmmaker. His work has since spanned five continents.

Joris is based in Barcelona and originally from the Netherlands.



Content for Change

I strive to capture images that inspire people to act and that shed light on environmental problems as well as solutions. This is where conservation photography differs from traditional wildlife photography. Conservation stories are about people as much as they are about wildlife—from the problems we create and the people that suffer their consequences, to those that dedicate their lives to solving them. I see it as my job to communicate both the intrinsic value of nature and the ugly side of reality in compelling ways.

Conservation organizations I have worked with include Save Our Seas Foundation, Centro de Conservación Cetacea, Sabah Parks, UWICE, and Stichting Werkgroep Grauwe Kiekendief.

A spearfisherman pulls in a speared Hottentot seabream in False Bay, South Africa

Forestry officer Kinley Wangdi measures a fresh tiger footprint in Manas, Bhutan

Clearcutting in a zone 3 protected area of Białowieża forest in Poland


South African Geoff Fridgeon poses with a picture of himself in the same spot 46 years ago holding a musselcracker seabream—a species near threatened with extinction today



The Story of Science

In my work I try to both explain and humanize science. We live in a time of growing mistrust in scientific research and the integrity of scientists. Sadly, people don't naturally change their beliefs when we present them with facts. But they do respond to personal stories about people they can relate to, and photography and film offer powerful means of telling such stories.

Institutes I have helped tell the stories of their scientists include Naturalis Biodiversity Center and University of Groningen.

Mycologist Luis Morgado studies a Filoboletus fungus that glows in the dark in the Crocker Range, Borneo

Conservation biologist Lauren de Vos uses baited remote underwater video systems to better inform fisheries management in South Africa

Fish gather around a baited remote underwater video system in False Bay, South Africa

Researchers fit a Montagu's harrier with a GPS tracker in Senegal


Film Work for Cinema & Television

I love the collaborative nature of filmmaking and have worked on major productions since 2012.

Trailer for The New Wilderness (EMS Films)

Most notably, I was one of the makers of the critically acclaimed and record-breaking Dutch wildlife film The New Wilderness, which saw cinema releases in four countries and was adapted to a television series.

My work has also appeared in various episodes of the Dutch nature TV show Vroege Vogels. I've filmed on different National Geographic expeditions, including the excavation of a 'lost city' in Honduras, and produced a number of educational shorts for Naturalis Biodiversity Center.

Most recently, I appeared as a cameraman/presenter in the SBS television series Wilde dieren in Wildlands. The series followed the work of three professional wildlife filmmakers over the course of eight weekly episodes.



Some of the organizations that have commissioned or licensed my work:




Image Licensing

Speaking Engagements

Print Sales



Phone: +34 638 16 82 35 / +31 622 35 88 53