Chris Howes was introduced to photography by his father, who gave him an old Graflex camera as a boy. The local chemist in his home village in Oxfordshire showed him how films were developed and thus began a lifelong fascination and obsession with all things photographic. A keen interest in the outdoor world grew, in particular after being introduced to caves and caving in 1968, and the combination led to over forty years spent developing and perfecting techniques suited to underground photography.
Chris gained a Fellowship from the Royal Photographic Society in 1981 and he has had further recognition from British, European and USA-based international caving salons with around 100 winning entries, including over twenty of the top prestigious awards. In 1988 Chris took over as editor of the caving magazine Descent and later left his biology teaching post to concentrate more on full-time writing, photography and publishing. Four books written by him and featuring his photographs have appeared in print thus far: Cave Photography and Images Below as manuals on modern cave photography, To Photograph Darkness on its history and development, and The Spice of Life on biodiversity.
In 1997 he was presented with the Outdoor Writers’ Guild/Fuji Professional Award for Photographic Excellence and in 1998 he held a one-man exhibition in St David’s Hall, Cardiff. Other recognition includes the Giles Barker Award for his contributions to the advancement of cave photography, the Peter M. Hauer Award for Speleological History for To Photograph Darkness, and the Tratman Award (twice) for Descent and Images Below as well as the Spelean Arts and Letters Award conferred in the USA for overall work in the genre.
Caves provide an incredible backdrop where all lighting is under control of the photographer and Chris’s cave photographs, particularly those in black and white, are highly sought after as they have a style of their own. Their standard and artistic appeal have gained him worldwide renown and acknowledgement as one of the world’s top cave photographers. He is based in South Wales, UK.