In his expeditions to the Amazon, the Arctic, the Antarctic Ocean or Patagonia, Beltrá has documented many of today’s burning conservation issues, including drought, deforestation, climate change, the melting of the glaciers or crude oil spills. His images have been distributed by leading international agencies and have appeared in newspapers like The New York Times, The New Yorker, Time Magazine, El Mundo, El País, El Periódico, Clarín, O Globo or The Guardian. He has also collaborated with Greenpeace and shown his work in galleries and museums in Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States and China.
Beltrá studied engineering in the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros de Montes of the Technical University of Madrid, and biology in the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. In 1989, he began working as a photographer for the EFE news agency in Madrid, and from 1992 to 2001 was a correspondent with the French agency Gamma Presse Images. In 2002, he moved to the United States, where he works for diverse organizations and publications.
“Everything has changed so fast for me,” he now remarks. “Until 2006 I had never entered for a prize. But that year, British reporter Tom Stoddart persuaded me to present my series on the drought in Amazonia to the World Press Photo contest.” And the resulting third place in the Nature Stories category of the 2005 World Press Photo Award inaugurated a roll of distinctions in which no year has passed without some new entry. Among them, another World Press Photo Award in 2006, and the Prince’s Rainforest Project Award in 2009, presented to him in person by Charles, Prince of Wales for work in connection with a tropical rainforest conservation initiative. And more recently, the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award in 2011 from the Natural History Museum, London, for his image of a group of pelicans coated in oil from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill.