Photography . filming . writing . multimedia products
Christine Sonvilla is a professional, award-winning photographer, filmmaker and writer focusing on nature conservation and wildlife topics. Her work revolves around advocating nature issues and raising environmental awareness. She uses text, photography and film to speak in nature’s favour, hoping that she can make a contribution towards a society that perceives nature (again) as valuable and considers it as an integral part of decision-making and everyday life.
Christine has been contributing numerous stories to magazines and newspapers, blogs and books including one of Austria’s leading nature magazines, UNIVERSUM Magazin, national parks and scientific institutions (e.g. Vetmeduni Vienna). Past stories she has worked on involve the rediscovery of the European Wildcat in Austria, the last wild Mountain Reindeer of Europe or the reintroduction of the Arabian Oryx in Oman. In June 2018 she has published a selection of brown bear images in the German edition of the National Geographic Magazine. The same story was subsequently also published in the August 2018 issue of NatGeo Slovenia.
Over the past years Christine has developed a work focus on the Florida Everglades, the return of the big predators to Central Europe (Project „Leben am Limit“) as well as city wildlife (Project „Wiener Wildnis“) and together with her partner Marc Graf she has spent countless hours on working with DSLR camera-trapping systems, producing high-res wideangle images particularly of big predator species in Central Europe (Brown bear, Eurasian lynx) and in the USA (Florida panther).
Furthermore, the production of image trailers and films e.g. for Austrian national parks and nature conservation institutions (e.g. Wiener Umweltanwaltschaft) constitute a major aspect of her work.
Her core competence is the combination of all communication tools. She offers and produces multimedia-packages dedicated to nature promotion for divers clients. This involves photo and film coverage of a particular nature topic (including timelapse, tracking shots via camera dolly, underwater), resulting in blog and magazine articles as well as trailers and films that can be used for web, tv, hdav-presentations etc.
Being a photography trainer for the Canon Academy Austria, Christine also passes on her knowledge at photography workshops (Wiener Fotoschule) and is a photo-travel host for the Austrian tour operator ARR Natur- und Kulturreisen.
For many projects Christine cooperates with her partner Marc Graf, who is a professional photographer and filmmaker himself. Together they live in the Austrian mountains.
What drives her?
Humans have aliented from nature to the extent that parents worry more about their child exploring the forest than investigating a smartphone. Children might know everything about the life cycle of a bee – well, they can google it – but they are dumbstruck if not outright hysterical when the real thing – 3D – approaches them. Although it’s not all pathological of course, scientists have come to the conclusion, that so-called nature-deficit-disorder is on the rise.
Reconnecting with nature is crucial for our psychological well-being, our physical health and especially our ability to connect with one another. With her work, Christine aims at contributing her little portion to a better understanding of nature’s fascinating species and processes, hoping that it will result in wiser decisions. Ultimately, all of us are natural beings, even if we have forgotten about this truth along the way. It’s time to remember.
So far Christine has received the following awards for her work:
OASIS Photo Contest – Highlight Plants
El Mundo Festival Austria 2017 – „Best Photography“ and „Second overall place“ for Everglades – Swamp Stories
The Nature Conservancy’s 2017 Photo Contest – Among the top 100 selection
Finding Bearings Life Dinalp Bear Photo Contest 2017 – 3 photos selected for travelling exhibition „Life with bears“
Beca MontPhoto WWF grant 2016 – „Leben am Limit / Living on the edge – Brown bears in Central Europe“
Glanzlichter der Naturfotografie 2016 – Highlight – Wildlife in human environment