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WildFilmHistory » Home » People » John Paling

John Paling 

John Paling with camera equipment

One of the founding members of Oxford Scientific Films (OSF), John Paling has made over fifty wildlife documentaries across the world. John studied zoology and, after gaining his doctorate, joined Oxford University in 1964, teaching vertebrate practical classes.

Specialising in the study of fish, John began to make short films and developed new techniques for effective underwater photography. His filmmaking activities did not go unnoticed and soon he was working alongside Gerald and David Thompson, Peter Parks, Sean Morris and John Cooke, other Oxford film enthusiasts.

1967 saw the group holidaying in Jamaica, collecting footage that was broadcast by the BBC Natural History Unit (NHU) as a two part series, Wild Jamaica. The following year OSF was officially born and John went on to film and produce over 50 major wildlife films for the company.

Over this time, John developed many new filming methods, including the use of aquatic back projection to film river systems. In recognition of his pioneering work he received the Kodak Outstanding Photographic Achievement Award in 1989.

Moving to America in 1981, John set up his own wildlife film company John Paling & Co. Ltd. Over the next decade he produced and starred in a variety of productions including the Emmy award-winning National Geographic TV Special - Realm of the Alligator (1986).

In 1989, John founded The Risk Communication Institute, a body intended to help healthcare professionals provide patient-focused information. John continues to speak on this subject, interspersing his seminars with clips from his past library of wildlife films.

WildFilmHistory Films

film-smallWild Jamaica: Cays, crabs and cucumbers (1968)Presenter,
film-smallWild Jamaica: Trapdoors, Tyrants and Tadpoles (1968)Additional Photography 
film-smallCamera Magic: Images of Nature (1989)Photography 
John Paling with filming equipment
John Paling with filming equipment
John Paling with camera equipment
John Paling with camera equipment