John Catto on location in Nyriangango Volcano
As a veteran photojournalist working for print and broadcast media, corporate productions, and non-profit organizations for close to 30 years, I’ve travelled to 35+ countries shooting still and moving images of cultural, political, scientific, news, and sporting events. That experience has demanded wearing many professional hats including those of Producer, Director, Cameraman, Reporter, Still Photographer, Location Scout, Safety Co-ordinator, and Translator.
Much of my career has focused on assignments documenting scientific explorations, expedition adventures, and extreme mountains sports in tough locations from the Arctic to the Antarctic. In addition to those extremes, I’ve clicked and rolled my cameras in the jungles of Asia, Central, and South America, in the deserts of Utah and Oman, and the arid steppes of eastern Tibet, and in the mountains of Patagonia, the Himalayas, and Alaska.
In the last dozen years, volcanoes have emerged as a principal theme of my shoots. In 2015, I traveled for a third time with Dr. Kens Sims (U. of Wyo.) to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to document his research on the active volcanoes of Virunga National Park that endanger the city of Goma. There, in 2010, I participated as DP and Field-Producer in the National Geographic TV film Man v. Volcano featuring Dr. Sims.
In 2009 I directed, shot, and helped translate three short films entittled The Body Politic documenting the social emergence of womens’ health issues in Guatemala and the political importance of family planning as told by some of that country’s women and youth.
In 2001, I produced and directed the independent film JUMP! which utlimately gathered a dozen festival awards. In 2000, I shot and field-produced Hitting the Wall, a big-wall climbing documentary for National Geographic TV. This film won me an Emmy for electronic cameraperson. Making the popular and multi award-winning La Escoba de Dios merged my profession as a photojournalist with my passion as an alpinist for the first time in 1992.
Five Emmy nominations (2 statues), a Cindy, a Golden Eagle, a San Diego Press Club award, and more than a dozen film festival awards later, attest to my abilities and allowed me to work for media giants such as National Geographic TV, the Discovery Channel, PBS, NBC, BBC, Christian Science Monitor TV News, ESPN, and OLN.
When not on assignment, I’ve spent a significant part of the last 40 years struggling against gravity. With numerous first ascents on crags and peaks in the USA, Canada, Patagonia, and the Karakoram mountains of Pakistan, I can honestly call myself an experienced alpinist, rock climber, and ice climber.
Starting as a cub photojournalist with the Houston Post in 1980, my career includes pix published in National Geographic magazine, NG Kids, Washington Journalism Review, New Scientist, Siences et Avenir, Oceanus, Alpinist, Rock and Ice, Climbing Magazine, the American Alpine Journal, Washington Journalism Review, the Honolulu Star, and in the book Lava Scientist. I’ve done freelance work for the AP in Panama, El Salvador and Chile in 87. I’ve also worked for art dealers, real estate developers, and auto companies shooting promotional and marketing materials.
2 emmys, 5 emmy nominations, 1 cine gold eagle, A Cindy award, and a San Diego Press Club award speak to my ability behind the lens. I’ve directed and managed multi-camera shoots in many different formats including DLSR, HD, Digi-Beta, Beta-SP, DV, 16mm, and 35mm.
My talent as a storyteller and producer manifests itself with more than a dozen national, international film festival awards as producer of JUMP!, La Escoba de Dios, and field-producer of Man v Volcano and Hitting the Wall.
Finding the perfect location has long been part of my abilities. My knowledge of the great outdoors and my extensive travels gives me a unique familiarity with some of the world’s most unique ecosystems including the desert southwest of the USA, the Canadian Rockies and Arctic, Patagonia, Tibet, Peru, Baffin Island, and so many more…
As a veteran alpinist, I know the ropes of the vertical realms. I’ve rigged ice climbs, rock climbs, and big wall shoots, hired climbing and rigging teams and coordinated on-site safety for a Mammut corportate film and for a Toyota in-house corporate film.
Fluency in English, Spanish, and French has proven time and time again to be a priceless communication asset on shoots around the world.
D.P. Lava Lake
D.P. / Rigger / Safety Mammut Castleton Climb
Field Producer / D.P. Man v Volcano
D.P. / Field Producer The Body Politic
D.P. / Photographer Into the Mouth of Hell, Oceanus Magazine
Producer/Director JUMP! 16mm & 35mm doc (Czech Republic)*
Producer/Camera La Escoba de Dios (The Broom of God) 1992 Best Climbing Film Telluride Mountainfilm Festival and 1992 Banff Festival of Mountain Films
Producer/Director A Two-Way Street: The Companion Diocese Program 1990 Cindy Award
Camera/DP/FP The Perfect Swarm
Camera Ultimate Bridges: Denmark-Sweden
Camera Ultimate Bridges: Greece
Camera Attack of the Mystery Shark (Sundarbans)
Camera Etna Erupts (Sicily)
Camera/DP Denali (US)
Camera Everest Extreme (Nepal)
Camera/Field Producer Croc Chronicles (Belize)
Camera High Road to Shangri-La (Tibet)
Camera/ Field Producer The Chachapoyas (Peru)
Camera Cobra Hunt, Myanmar (Burma)
Camera Clan of the Snake Catchers, Myanmar (Burma)
Camera Fire & Iceland (Iceland) Nat'l Emmy Nomination 1998
Camera/ FP Hitting the Wall (Baffin Island, Canada)
DP Shelter from the Storm (Baffin Island )
DP Vanishing Planet (Madagascar) Discovery Channel & Outdoor Life Network
Camera Iditarod 2006
Camera Primal Quest 2004, 2006
Camera Eco-Challenge 99 (Patagonia) National Emmy Nomination 2000 Outstanding Camera
Camera Eco-Challenge, Canada ’96 1997 National Sports Emmy Nomination
Camera/FP Kingdom of Muli, Tibet 1998 Emmy /Sports /Series Camera-Adventure Quest
Camera Next Step-Upsk, USA 1997 California Emmy Producer Award
Camera World Monitor News doc. Europe: 1992 & Beyond
Camera World Monitor News Series Children of War, Yugoslavia
1990s Kaleidoscope Productions & First Light Films
Camera/ DP Rights of Passage, 16mm sports documentary
2nd unit Camera 16mm doc. Tricking the Chief
1984-1988 Univision, KSND, KCWS News
Cameraman/Equipment Manager for D.C. Bureau, extensive coverage of local, national and international news for the world’s largest Hispanic network
Cameraman/Editor for 5/10pm news at NBC affiliate in San Diego
San Diego Press Club Award Best Spot News Photography 1986
Cameraman/Editor for evening news at local indy in Glenwood Springs, CO KCWS
Best Film on Sport and Sport Adventure
Special Jury Award winner
Best of Festival Award
Best Film on Mountain Sports winner
"Hitting the Wall"1999
"La Escoba de Dios (The Broom of God)"1992
Mark Hesse FA NW buttress of Mt. Postern