The British photographer immortalizes animal portraits with striking emotions and simplicity. A seasoned traveller, a spectator of the animal kingdom’s complexity and an author of many books collecting his incredible and many works: the artist proves us the animal species are in fact much «more than humans» as their eyes, their postures and their realities are represented with sincerity. We’ve asked this photographer who wants people to connect a little more to the beauty of nature a few questions.
What path led you to be an animal photographer and why did you choose this particular field?
The very first roll of film I ever took was on my foundation course; we were given a project photographing animals at London Zoo. It seems amazing to me how I am working with the very same institution I did this project at.
I think there is something intriguing about the space, the chasm almost, between a human and another sentient being. How do we understand them, and how do they understand us? This question often comes up during my work, as I need to consider how the image of an animal works on another human being.
In what kind of situations do you photograph animals?
It’s not so much whether an animal is in the zoo, or in the wild, or whether it is a trained animal or not – the thing I am most intrigued by is how the images that are the outcome of a particular shoot work on an audience. My preference, therefore, is more about effectiveness and relevance, rather than saying «Aren’t I clever, I captured the last ’something in the wild’, how difficult was that?». It is not about how difficult the picture is to realize that makes it special, but rather how effectively it communicates a concept or idea.
What inspires you to create new images?
When I work on a project such as a book, it is like a journey. Like in everything, we forget things, but we learn new things. To be able to have the privilege to witness these animals, but also to learn about them, to understand them, to be made aware of new things – all this is for me very exciting.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
At the moment, I have two projects I am working on: a new book with a working title of «Birds», which will consist of very stylised imagery and is aimed for 2020. The second project is based upon the exploration of how we, as humans, perceive images of animals. How certain photos touch us emotionally and create desired behavioural change. This is an area I want to look at, particularly concerning the natural world.
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