For me, the most powerful connection to any subject, whether human or animal, is through the eyes. Once I started this project, it became immediately clear that the direct gaze into the camera was the most compelling photograph I could capture – and the most difficult to get. There were a number of shoots where the animal never looked straight at me, and there were many others where this happened only once – and only for a few seconds. Regardless, when it did occur, there was something deeply resonant about the encounter that was profound in the moment and primal in its roots.
For these sessions with animals, my usual way of working with subjects was completely altered. Specific verbal directions were replaced by patient waiting and observation – a kind of meditation in the middle of organized chaos.
I discovered that in the midst of our modern human civilization with all its technological complexities, animals still remain stark symbols of a simpler life and a wilderness lost, and, most importantly, as dramatic reminders that we are not alone, we are not separate – we are part of a beautifully rich and interconnected diversity of life.