Jonathan was born in Twickenham in 1957, and has always been surrounded by artistic activity, which from his early years was stimulated by his study of the natural world. He developed a keen interest in raptors, visiting a local falconer to sketch and paint his peregrines and goshawks. During the 1980s seascapes and surfscapes occupied him in Devon, Cornwall and the Channel Islands and a number were sold. He then became a keen amateur botanist, taking up natural history illustration full time. From 1991 to 1992 he took an ‘A’ level Art & Design course at Colchester Institute. Having passed, he went on to study the HND in Technical Illustration (Natural History) at the Bournemouth and Poole College of Art & Design from 1992,¬†which he completed successfully in 1994.
In 1995 he began producing work for The BBC Wildlife Magazine, which included a wall-chart depicting twenty-five British wild edible fungi. In the autumn he moved to London and began studying at the Royal College of Art for a Master of Arts in Natural History Illustration, and later that year¬†the eight orchids painted during the HND were accepted for one of the Royal Horticultural Society’s exhibitions, for which he was awarded an RHS Silver-Gilt Medal.
In July 1996, after a fractured skull, it became too problematic for him to continue with the MA at the Royal College of Art, and he was allowed to resign from the course. Later that year he completed a BBC Wildlife Magazine commission for both edible and poisonous fungi and received private commissions. In the same year came a fungi exhibition at the Royal Horticultural Society’s ‘Fungus 100’, a centennial celebration of the foundation of the British Mycological Society. He then began work on thirteen orchid illustrations for a joint exhibition with other artists at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.
From March until July 1997 his orchid paintings were on display at the Orchid Festival of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.
In 1998 he produced a second wall-chart with twenty-three of the more common British orchids for the BBC Wildlife Magazine. From then until 2009 he continued to paint private commissions, including Pyramidal Bugle for the frontispiece of the Flora of Assynt.
In 2006 one of his Lady’s Slipper Orchid illustrations was used for the front cover of ‘Deadly Slipper’, a novel by Michelle Wan about orchid obsession in the Dordogne, published by Random House.
In 2009 he stopped painting due to a combination of circumstances. It was from 2005 that he began to be increasingly drawn to more general wildlife photography, and this remains so up to the present day.
Equipment: Nikon D800 and D300 cameras, the Nikkor 200-400mm. VR II zoom, Nikkor 70-200mm. VR II zoom, Nikkor 17-55mm. f/2.8 wide-angle lenses, and the Sigma 105mm. f/2.8 Macro lens.¬† Manfrotto, Gitzo & Really Right Stuff tripods and tripod heads are employed as supports.¬† Natural lighting without flash is preferred, with the occasional use of warming or cooling reflectors for macro work.
Lifestyle:¬† I’m¬†unmarried with no children, and do not drive or¬†fly, instead employing an electric bicycle and public transport, planning wildlife photography in such a way that all¬†locations and species in Britain are available to me.¬† I¬†buy organic wherever possible, eat no red or white meat, using sustainable fish, shellfish, crustaceans and Quorn as meat replacements, make green smoothies with kale and spinach, always prepare and cook from fresh, and use Matcha tea as an energy boost.¬† White¬†bread, junk food, pre-prepared supermarket meals, wheat-based products, and takeaways are off the menu.¬† Despite a relatively small carbon footprint, I’m as guilty as¬†the next person regarding digital hardware and the effects of its¬†production on the planet, such as the aggressive land-grabs in search¬†of minerals and rare earths;¬†to do without it, and the website as an¬†online gallery, would be almost unthinkable now.¬† It’s an uncomfortable¬†dilemma.¬† As to my beliefs, although not a practising Buddhist, I’m most attracted to its philosophy, and essentially humanist and atheist in outlook.
Jonathan P. Tyler, Sycamore Farm, Goulds Road, Alphamstone, BURES, Suffolk, UK.¬† CO8 5HP
tel: +44 (0) 1787 269204¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† fax: +44 (0) 1787 269148¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†