Des Bartlett's encyclopaedic knowledge of wildlife and his extraordinary patience while filming has led him to become one of the most successful wildlife cameramen of his generation. His partnership with his wife, Jen, has produced many award winning films, and the couple have spent most of their working life 'on safari' filming and photographing the world's wildlife.
Des' early interest in wildlife started after reading Osa Johnson's book, I Married Adventure, and changed his focus from designing aeroplanes to wildlife filmmaking. Armand Denis discovered Des' talents for filmmaking and asked him to film for him in Africa for six weeks. Des stayed with Armand Denis for over ten years, making many films for Armand Denis Productions and shooting all the film for the series On Safari.
Although Survival had shown an interest in Des Bartlett coming to work for them, Des was determined to stay with Armand for as long as he needed him and it was not until early 1966 that Armand Denis ceased wildlife film production, and Des was free to join Survival. Des and Jen also worked with National Geographic, mainly on the still photography side, which helped to fund their filming activities.
A large part of Des' success came from his meticulous planning, and he was also very thorough about documenting every piece of film that he shot. In fact, by the year 2000, Des had shot over two million feet of 16 mm Kodak film, with precise records all the way back to when he left Melbourne in May 1952. Des used to expose a vast amount of film from which the Survival library ultimately benefited. For the Emmy award winning 1971 film, The Flight of the Snow Geese, Des shot over 120,000 feet of footage, which was edited down for the finished film and also produced six half-hour programmes from the 'out-takes'.
Des died on 12th September 2009 at home in Namibia.