Life on the Otter side of the lens

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He’s a photographer whose pictures have been seen in all manner of publications and his latest book will give an insight into the work that goes into getting the perfect image.

Paxton’s Laurie Campbell has been snapping away for over three decades now with his work featuring in the likes of BBC Wildlife Magazine, who dedicated a whole spread to the best of his portfolio.

Although he has been known to venture away from the River Tweed to the likes of the Isle of Mull and the Outer Hebrides, Laurie takes advantage of the diverse range of wildlife he can take pictures of on home turf.

Among the creatures that has fascinated the most over the course of his career is the otter, a mammal which also takes centre stage in his new book, the aptly titled ‘Otters: Return To The River’.

Laurie joined forces with Scottish writer Anna Levin for the release which will hit shelves on Thursday, July 3, which as well as looking at the resurgence of otters in areas like Berwick, will also offer a glimpse into the lengths and effort Laurie goes to to get a picture that he’s happy with.

“There was definitely a story to be told,” Laurie told ‘WOW’.

“There’s a bit about me growing up in Berwick and how in my early days of photographing I’d regularly come into contact with people working on the Tweed whose roles no longer exist such as the salmon netsmen.

“The autobiographical side of the book wasn’t actually that hard to do.

“As someone who likes to keep a record of what I’m up to I have lots of diaries from over the years.

“One thing I particularly remember was going to Moscow to a photography event. I was sharing a stage with guys who worked for National Geographic and they were talking about going on expeditions to take pictures of tigers and there was me Laurie from Paxton who takes pictures of wildlife in his back garden!”

In his new book, Laurie discusses how unlike many other creatures, he’s noticed a change of fortune for the better with otters, with more and more being spotted all the time.

“There was a time when they were virtually extinct in this country; they were very hard to find but I’ve watched the population slowly increase again which is great.

“I’ve taken pictures of otters between the two bridges on the River Tweed in Berwick.

“I’ve also snapped them in places like the Isle of Mull but capturing them on a river is a whole different challenge.

“If, as I’m hoping they will, appear on the Tweed more frequently; they could become a real selling point for Berwick and bring in a lot of tourism.”

Laurie worked with Anna for 18 months on ‘Otters: Return To The River’ but said that having her follow him round with a dicta-phone wasn’t actually that strange as he quite often lets people join him on his photography trips.

“My whole motivation behind wanting to become a professional photographer was to share my passion for wildlife with others.

“I’m really keen for family and friends to join me and see the animals in their natural habitats and see the work that goes into each shot.

“I really respected Anna for grasping my vision that it wasn’t to solely be a book about otters.

“I wanted it to go behind the scenes with me.”