Award-winning wildlife photographer handed honorary award

Wednesday 03 July 2024

Raymond Besant at RGU Summer Graduation 2024
Renowned Orcadian wildlife cameraman and photographer Raymond Besant has been recognised with an Honorary Degree at the University where he once studied.

After graduating from Robert Gordon University (RGU) with a BSc (Hons) in Biosciences with Biomedical Science, he spent the early days of his career as a press photographer with The Press and Journal newspaper in Aberdeen before moving into capturing film and images of wildlife.

His debut film, The Flying Dustbin, focused on the plight of Fulmars who were accidentally ingesting plastic and won two awards at the International Wildlife Film Festival in Montana in 2009. This production proved vital as it opened the door for Raymond to specialise as a long lens wildlife cameraman and work with the BBC’ Natural History Unit as well as other production companies.

Raymond worked on the BBC’s Wild Isles series which was presented by Sir David Attenborough and he went to the West Coast of Greenland to film for Frozen Planet II. He spent nine weeks working at heights of up to 16,000ft on the Tibetan Plateau as part of the Wild China series.

Professor Steve Olivier, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, said: “The images captured by Raymond shine a light on the fascinating creatures that live in our seas, skies and mountains as well as highlighting the ongoing climate crisis. It is fantastic for RGU to honour not only a notable alum, but also someone who making real strides to give us a better understanding of nature.

“His work is a real source of inspiration for the University, and I am sure our own sustainability efforts can only benefit from his unique insight into this important topic.”

Raymond is based in his hometown of Kirkwall, Orkney and always been passionate about wildlife and nature. Growing up in Orkney meant he was afforded the freedom to indulge his interest in wildlife and he would spend his summers capturing images of seabirds on cliff tops.

His job has taken him far from his home and he has travelled far and wide capturing unique images and footage of all manner of creatures. His recent work in Orkney includes capturing pictures of underwater seagrass, seals and a litany of seabirds which live along the cliffs and sea stacks of the archipelago.

Raymond was recognised with a Doctor of Science (DSc) award at P&J Live, Aberdeen on Wednesday 03 July 2024.

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