In 2013, Museum Victoria established a project to target the image capture of Victoria's rich wildlife. Through generous philanthropic support the museum has been able to employ a dedicated specialist photographer, David Paul, a scientific photographer with more than 30 years experience in photographing animals on all scales from microscopic life to basking sharks and whales. Since 2013, David has accompanied Museum scientists around the state and taken more than 20,000 images, representing more than 800 species.
David uses a mixture of techniques to capture engaging and diagnostic images of different animal species from photographing in the wild, to construction of simulated land and aquatic habitats, and use of image stacking, microscopic and other specialist facilities. In partnership with Parks Victoria through the Bioscan field program, David has established field photograph laboratories to photograph the large numbers of species encountered in Bioscans. In 2016, two of David's images won silver awards at the Australian Professional Photography Awards.
A particular focus of this project is of animals that are difficult to photograph and particularly rare or rarely seen species. Many of these images feature in the Museum Victoria Collections site, the Museum's field guide apps and other digital resources as well as in publications and education and conservation programs. They also stream to national and international aggregators such as the Atlas of Living Australia, along with the Museum's collection data.
Museum Victoria would like to thank the Ian Potter Foundation, the Lim Family Foundation, the R. E. Ross Trust and the Hugh T. Williamson Foundation for making this project possible.