I first started taking wildlife pictures when I was a little girl. I used a Kodak Instamatic and photographed wildlife in the Rockies. I loved going to Yellowstone National Park. I still have many of these photos, now almost 50 years old.
I returned to active wildlife photography in 2006 shortly before a trip to Botswana and South Africa. At that time I took some classes on light, color, etc. and then started photographing local animals (e.g. Mt Auburn Cemetery).
I quickly began to realize that my goal with wildlife photography was to capture the essentially alive and sentient nature of my subjects. My favorite pictures are of animals interacting with me in the sense that they are aware of my presence and in relation with me in some way. You can see their presence in their eyes. Just like a human animal, other animals show much about how they are feeling and that they are conscious by their eye contact.
This is perhaps a reason why I am drawn towards cats as pets and lemurs as subjects. The both have very large and expressive eyes. I have always wanted to go to Madagascar and have always been interested in lemurs. I finally did so for the first time in 2011. Lemurs are engaged and curious even when scared or annoyed. Lemur babies, tucked into their mother’s bodies or attached to their backs, follow you with their eyes no matter how their mother’s leap and jump. Lemurs are responsive and thus very fun for me to photograph. I see all animals as sentient, it is just easier to relate to this fact the closer they are related to us. The sentience of mammals is more apparent than that of fish. Though I have some trout photographs in which the trout are clearly aware of and in relationship with me.
The intention of my photographs is to have the audience feel connected to the animal subject. My hope is that my photographs will help people to realize that all animals are sentient and capable of emotional and physical feeling. And thus in need of protection from unnecessary abuse and harm by humans. Harm in big Agro-business, testing in labs and schools, the entertainment business, and the myriad of other ways we humans use our power to subjugate and brains to rationalize the subjugating of other animals.
I hope that you enjoy my photos and hope that they help you feel connected to the creatures in the picture. They are the same, in terms of sentience, as the creatures on your plate.