Paul Hilton – Conservation Photojournalist with a Focus on Wildlife Crime

Paul Hilton Photographer - Destination Deluxe
Paul Hilton is a photojournalist who focuses on global environmental and conservation issues to bring about necessary change
In this quest, Hilton has spent the past three decades documenting deforestation, focussing on land clearing and the illegal wildlife crime in Sumatra’s Leuser Ecosystem; following the shark-fin trade across the globe, from the fishing ports of Yemen and the Middle East to the high seas of the Pacific and Indian oceans; documenting life onboard long-lining fleets from Taiwan, China, the Philippines, and Indonesia; in the dried seafood markets of Southern China and Hong Kong; documenting a newly-discovered blue whale migration; satellite tagging of humpback whales; and documenting sustainable pole-and-line tuna fisheries worldwide.
Hilton’s footage of the illegal wildlife crime features heavily throughout the 2015 film Racing Extinction, produced by the Ocean Preservation Society and directed by Oscar-winner, Louie Psihoyos, which premiered at the Sundance
Film festival.
Paul Hilton Ivory Trade - Destination Deluxe
Photo: Courtesy of Paul Hilton
His work has been featured also in numerous television documentaries: Change Drivers for Discovery Channel, Ocean Warriors directed by Robert Redford for Animal Planet and Why On Earth, alongside Clint Eastwood.
Hilton is a member of the prestigious International League of Conservation Photographers, and in 2010 launched his first book, Man & Shark, highlighting the global shark-finning industry. He has received numerous awards for his conservation photography: In 2012, a World Press Photo award for his body of work on the shark-fin issue; Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2020; the Asian Geographic Best of the Decade series, and the Ark Trust Award for exposing bear bile farming in China, for Animals Asia Foundation. His images have been published in the books, Black Market, Hidden, Photographer Against Wildlife Crime and The Evidence Project.
Working both in and on the sidelines of some very difficult and harrowing projects over the past 30 years, Hilton has been able to find solace in capturing some truly exquisite experiences and his website plays tribute to those times.
Observing that many people view world travel very differently today, Hilton decided to provide an experience of ‘travel with a purpose’ by offering them a chance to visit remote locations and view wildlife at its most authentic in natural habitats. In 2018, Hilton created ‘Out There with Paul Hilton’, a global travel expedition company taking wildlife enthusiasts and people looking for adventure off the beaten track. Hilton takes clients to far-flung destinations with which he has had a long and extensive affiliation. There, he expertly guides his clients in search of rhinos, leopards, elephants, tigers, orangutans, blue whales, humpbacks, mantas, sharks and dolphins. Paul takes great care in creating an itinerary that combines exceptional wildlife viewing and quality travel.
Paul Hilton Wildlife Photographer - Destination Deluxe
Photo: Courtesy of Paul Hilton

Well, ultimately, I am a conservationist using photojournalism as a tool to try and present issues in a balanced way and ultimately to create change.

I think it’s important to understand why the issues are happening. I then set out to document the beauty and then the issue around a particular species or ecosystem. After that, the imagery goes to work to try to engage people on a particular subject and then hopefully helping them to make an informed decision about any given subject.

Sometimes, I’ll work with charities to create a campaign around that issue. For example, I spend a lot of time with poachers, and it’s important to understand why they do what they do. It’s never black and white, and always very complex.

Paul Hilton Wildlife Trade Pangolin - Destination Deluxe
Photo: Courtesy of Paul Hilton