Mar 17
Sue Flood, ARKive Media Donor

Sue Flood – polar pioneer

With 20 years of wildlife photography and filmmaking experience and more than 30 Arctic and Antarctic expeditions under her belt, Sue Flood is a veritable veteran of working in extreme conditions.

After graduating in 1986 from the University of Durham, her first foray into wildlife filmmaking was with Survival Anglia in Norwich. From there, she went on to make a name for herself at the BBC Natural History Unit, producing and working on a number of ground-breaking and influential series such as Blue Planet, Planet Earth and Natural World.

Since leaving the BBC NHU in 2005, Sue has concentrated on using her camera to capture the wildlife, landscapes, native populations and struggles for survival in the polar regions. This isn’t without its risks – not least the plummeting temperatures freezing her eyelids shut, but more importantly, the issue of retaining her dignity while answering “calls of nature” with an all-male film crew in an environment with very little shrubbery for cover. If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is!

Award-winning photographer

Perhaps testament to her determination and considerable talent, Sue has won many awards for her stills photography, including gongs at International Photographer of the Year, Travel Photographer of the Year, the International Conservation Photography Awards and also as a silver medalist at the Royal Photographic Society.

ARKive is very lucky to have Sue as a media donor. She is responsible for many of the iconic photographs featured on the website – her photos are an obvious choice for our species landing pages as they combine eye-catching beauty and scientific interest. Through her co-run film production company Tartan Dragon Ltd, Sue has also donated footage to ARKive covering polar bears, chimpanzees and mountain gorillas, to name a few. Here are a few of my favourite stills.

Crabeater seal portrait by Sue Flood

The crabeater seal – which doesn’t actually eat crabs!


Photo of a humpback whale female and calf by Sue Flood

A female humpback whale and calf, photographed in the South Pacific

Photo of an emperor penguin chick by Sue Flood

An emperor penguin chick catches 40 winks

For many more amazing photographs like these, visit the Getty Gallery in London, where there is an exhibition of Sue Flood’s recent work from her book, “Cold Places”.

Explore more of Sue’s fantastic images on ARKive.

Visit for more information on her life and work.

Charles Whittaker, ARKive Media Researcher