Growing up in a small mountain village in northwest Italy, Stefano Unterthiner spent his early years photographing in the Gran Paradiso National Park and trekking around the beautiful mountains of the Aosta Valley region.
He began serious photography at the age of 17, went on to study zoology and, in the fall of 2000, obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. After completing his studies, Unterthiner returned to Italy and began his career as a zoologist. But his camera was always at his side, and it was not long before his hobby turned into an all-consuming lifestyle and profession.
His first award was in 2000, when Unterthiner won the prestigious Mario Pastore prize for best young environmental journalist. Unterthiner now travels regularly around the world in search of new subjects for his photo stories. He specializes in telling the life stories of animals, living in close contact with his chosen species for long periods. He also has a strong commitment to wildlife conservation and environmental issues, with a particular interest in the interactions between people and animals.
In September 2004, Stefano received the “Premio Nazionale di Ecologia Luigiano d’oro”, a prize awarded every year to Italians who distinguish themselves in their efforts regarding the preservation of nature. Stefano received this important award for his work on endangered wildlife. In March 2007, Stefano become a member of the ILCP, the International League of Conservation Photographers.
For his first assignment for National Geographic magazine, Unterthiner spent five months in the archipelago of Crozet shooting penguins for the story “Every Bird a King” (September 2009). Since then, Since 2009, Stefano has been a regular contributing photographer for National Geographic. Widely published in magazines worldwide, he is also the author of six photography books. His latest book, Gli angeli dell’inverno (The Angels of Winter) was published in 2010, following his assignment for National Geographic on whooper swans. Part of the proceeds went toward “The Wildlife & Wetlands Trust” (WWT) project for the conservation of wetland areas, where numerous birds nest, including whooper swans.
Unterthiner is a regular prizewinner in the International Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition and a member of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP).
Unterthiner lives with his wife Stéphanie and his children Rémi and Bahia in the Aosta Valley, Italy. Stefano works with his wife Stéphanie, with whom he founded the publishing house Ylaios and created The Little Wild Gallery, his personal photography gallery in the Forte di Bard (Italy).