This week I am featuring work that I encountered at Review LA, either in a review or at the Portfolio Walk.
To be an animal photographer is a tricky profession, maybe that’s why a number of photographers are using taxidermied animals these days. Lennette Newell’s photographs are unusual because many of the animals that she photographs actually look happy and feel so natural. She seems to have a deep connection to her models and I was struck by how joyful the images were. Lennette says she was riding a horse before she learned to walk. She grew up on a ranch with a keen interest in animal behavior. Her father is a large animal veterinarian, when she chose photography as a career it was only natural that animals would become her favorite subjects.
Lennette is a successful commercial photographer, specializing in animals and children, lives in Northern California. Some of her clients include Milk-Bone and Eukanuba. Her work has been celebrated in the 2010 Black & White Spider Awards, 2009 International Aperture Awards, 2009 International Photography Awards, 2009 PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris, 2009 Photography Masters Cup, Hasselblad Masters 2009 finalist, and 2009 Graphis Photography Annual. She’s been busy!
And this is her story about the image below: While the black leopard was a somewhat trained (use that word loosely) leopard, this image demonstrates the fine line. To me this is a reminder of how my posture, breathing, hair must relay my respect and animal instinct clearly as my eyes are behind the camera. The weak get eaten and rightfully so in the animal kingdom, I accept this and embrace it. He was in the open, with all claws and no trainer anywhere near me, his food was accidently thrown very close to me, this was not a long lens. I knew immediately this could end badly should I have made the slightest deviation in breath or body language.
I asked Lennette if photographing animals was a spiritual experience, and she commented: I feel connected with every pore, sounds weird, but I know they know we are one, they are the ultimate sensory machines in every respect. I feel like I can gain their trust and respect to access their intricate world.
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