A twenty-four-year-old Scot who intended to embark on a career in wildlife conservation got into journalism after becoming inspired while working with his student newspaper.
But Kieran Dodds, the 2005 Diageo Young Photographer of the Year, returned to his academic roots for his Alan Harper Bursary project, a picture documentary of the migration of eight million African fruit bats.
He got his first major break in photojournalism when he joined Scottish news agency NorthScot Press in Aberdeen and won the bursary at last year’s Picture Editors’ Awards. He now works for the Evening Times in Glasgow.
He said: “I ended up as editor of the Gaudi, the college newspaper, during my final year at uni and started shooting pictures for the Aberdeen Press and Journal; they even paid me for pictures of fellow students on my graduation day!”
Speaking about the bursary project, he said: “I travelled to Kasanka National Park in north eastern Zambia near the border with Democratic Republic of Congo to document the great migration of around 8 million straw coloured fruit bats.”
“I ended up here after my university thesis supervisor suggested it to me when I graduated. The roost is perhaps the highest concentration of mammal mass in the world and it is one of Africa’s best kept wildlife secrets.
“And surprisingly next to nothing has been done on it. I worked alongside researchers from the Universities of Florida and Aberdeen as they carried out pioneering work, caught and satellite tagged the bats to follow their movements.
“The bats are attracted to a “big bang” of fruit that occurs in November/December attracting animals from across the continent but no one yet knows where they go.”
To see his stunning work, click here