Kieran Dodds

BSc Hons Zoology, 2002
From Aberdeen to Chasing Light

Kieran Dodds is a non-fiction photographer known for his research-driven photo stories and portraiture. His personal work considers the interplay of environment and culture, tracing global events through daily lives.

After reading Zoology, he trained at the Herald newspaper group in Glasgow becoming an independent photographer after picking up a string of accolades including a 1st prize World Press Photo award for his self-assigned story- The Bats of Kasanka. A Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship allowed him to complete The Third Pole, documenting Tibetan culture in flux at the source of the Yellow, Yangtze and Mekong rivers.

At the time of the Independence referendum, he considered the myths and realities of his native Scottland. Land of Scots traces political and cultural narratives found within the country's diverse physical environments. The portrait series Gingers originated at the same time using a visual cliché to sift through assumptions of national identity but uses the trait to connect distant countries across political boundaries.

Most recently, in the series Hierotopia we witness a new perspective on combating the ecological crisis, charting the role of ancient ideas on the protection of rural landscapes in northern Ethiopia. The work was awarded a Sony World Photography award and has been exhibited in LA, New York, London and Edinburgh.

He lives in Scotland with wife and twin daughters. His work is represented by the Panos Pictures, London.

Kieran told us how his time in Aberdeen shaped his career ambitions and helped him realise them after leaving:

“I chose to study at the University as the course was highly recommended and I like the idea of a fresh start in a new city.

“My time in Aberdeen was deeply informative and it was there that I had my first field opportunity studying primates, fish and, of course, trees on a mountain in Malawi as part of my Honours project along with a couple of friends. We received a great deal of support from Professor Paul Racey who encouraged my journalistic aspirations.

“Upon graduating he helped me to create the World Press-winning story ‘The Bats of Kasanka’. I had been an editor for the Gaudie while writing my honours dissertation and I saw the value of communication science, and the power of photography, to open our eyes (and hearts) to the wonder hidden in the text of a scientific journal.”