Tim Laman is a field biologist, explorer, photographer, and filmmaker. His cameras are his tools for telling the stories of rare and endangered wildlife, and revealing some of earth’s wildest places, and he recently won the top honor in his field: Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016. His aims are to explore and document poorly known species, and promote awareness and conservation. Tim spends many months a year on expeditions to study, film, and photograph the biodiversity of earth’s richest realms working with the National Geographic Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Tim first went to Borneo in 1987 and his pioneering research in the rain forest canopy led to a PhD from Harvard and his first National Geographic article in 1997. He has pursued his passion for exploring wild places by becoming a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine where he has published 23 feature stories. Tim has developed somewhat of a reputation for being able to come back with shots from the wild of nearly impossible subjects. He relishes such challenges, and firmly believes that promoting awareness through photography can make a difference for conservation.

His longest collaboration has been with his wife, renowned Boston University orangutan researcher Cheryl Knott. On annual trips to their research site in western Borneo, Tim has photographed and filmed wild orangutans, documenting unique cultural traditions and raising awareness about their conservation threats.

Tim’s work has garnered numerous awards, including the highest honor of the North American Nature Photography Association in 2009 – their annual “Outstanding Nature Photographer” Award. Twenty-two of his images have won recognition in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards including the 2016 grand prize “Wildlife Photographer of the Year” and the “Wildlife Photojournalist” portfolio award. He has won several prizes in the Nature’s Best International Photography awards including first place in the underwater category and also won the Nature Stories category of the prestigious World Press Photo competition 2016.

Tim has also been involved more recently in various wildlife cinematography projects, including filming for the BBC’s “Planet Earth II”, Netflix upcoming “Our Planet”, National Geographic’s “Wild” channel, and creating short films that have been screened at numerous film festivals including Mountainfilm, Banff Film Festival, and DOCS NYC.

He is most well-known for being the first person to see and document all thirty-nine species of the spectacular Birds-of-Paradise in the wilds of New Guinea with Cornell colleague Edwin Scholes, a quest that spanned eight years and eighteen expeditions to the region. His interest in this group continues with annual filming and research expeditions in collaboration with Ed and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.


(updated Dec. 2017)

For further information about Tim and his work, see these websites below, as well as the links on the “In the Media” page: – Tim’s main portfolio website.

National Geographic Creative – Tim’s main agency for stock photography, video, and commercial assignments.

National Geographic Magazine‘s Tim Laman page.