/05 Animals

Brad Wilson


There is something appealing about a purely instinctual, intuitive existence. Perhaps it is the common human longing for a simpler life, or the desire to be fully present in each moment – largely free of the burdens of our recent past or imagined future. For me at least, animals embody this special type of immediacy. I began to wonder what it would be like to work with them in a studio environment without cages or scenic landscapes or any other distractions. What would they reveal and what could I create? This whole complex project was really born of those few basic curiosities, and just three months later I was standing in front of a chimpanzee, then a tiger and an elephant. My journey into the unknown had begun.

One of the first things I learned was that I was not in control. For the most part, the animals do what they want within the confines of the photography set. Waiting and patience quickly became an integral part of the project. So in the middle of what I can only define as a gentle and unpredictable chaos, I was trying to find a specific moment – a moment where mood, composition, and stillness combined to create something uncommon, something unexpected. I was looking for a final image that could stand completely on it’s own, regardless of context, and that also transcended the obvious beauty and power of my subjects. This series of photographs is the result of that exploration.