Canon Ambassador Thorsten Milse is one of the most sought-after nature photographers in the world, with a track record to back up his popularity.
Thorsten was born in 1965 in Bielefeld in Germany and had an interest in photography from the age of 3. At 13 he bought his first camera – a Yashica FR1 – with the money he received following his confirmation. He went on to become an electronic technician and a graphic designer, before choosing to pursue his passion and become a professional photographer. Establishing a reputation in the competitive field of wildlife photography takes years. Although, after starting out, he was fortunate enough to sell some articles to smaller magazines, Thorsten was wise to realize that he couldn't rely on wildlife photography alone to put food on the table. He supplemented his income by photographing models and buildings for advertising agencies, as well as undertaking commissions from health spa companies. During this time, he built an extensive portfolio of nature images and approached agencies that specialized in wildlife. In 1999 he got his first contract from the well-established German agency, Okapia, followed by a contract with Mauritius Images.
About four years later, Thorsten began to travel the world to photograph polar bear cubs. The captivating moments he shot caught the eye of major publications: Germany's GEO magazine initially picked up the story, followed by BBC Wildlife magazine in the UK and Nature's Best Photography in the US. The pictures went on to attract a number of high-profile awards, including Best Reportage Photographer from Danish magazine Illustreret Videnskab (Illustrated Science). A compilation of Thorsten's memorable images taken in Canada's Wapusk National Park subsequently formed the basis of a book, Little Polar Bears, which was published in 2006.
Today, Thorsten is recognized as one of the leading wildlife and nature photographers in the world. He has a particular interest in conservation and has worked on countless projects capturing the unusual, the rare and the fascinating.
Thorsten has photographed big cats across the globe, kangaroos and koalas in Australia and the unique wildlife of the Arctic and Antarctic. He has also collaborated with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on various projects, including tiger protection, snow leopard conservation and WWF's Arctic Programme. At the same time as pursuing his photography, Thorsten also works on 4K film productions, which have seen him document the Amazon rainforest and the coastline of South America.
His work has been published in over 25 countries and won numerous awards, including a prize in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition 2005 and the Grand Prize in Nature's Best Photo competition in the same year. He has exhibited worldwide, including at the Smithsonian in Washington, Moscow's GUM on Red Square, various French and German photography festivals and in eight German cities with the Polar World exhibition. In 2014, Thorsten, in collaboration with WWF, took over central Hamburg for an open-air exhibition called Facing The Storm, highlighting the threat of global warming.
Recently, Thorsten has started to work more with moving images and uses them in his campaigning work with WWF and in his commercial work. The latter has seen him developing and executing concepts and designs for advertising campaigns using photography and 4K film in the Amazon jungle, Madagascar, coastline of South America, the Alps and Africa for clients such as Toshiba, Sachtler and Canon.
He lectures and runs workshops worldwide and is an official Ambassador for the Sachtler/Vitec Group, f-stop and Peli Products, as well as working on Adobe's advocacy program for more than 12 years. (Credit: Canon Europe)