11 Captivating Studio Portraits Of Wild Animals Captured By Brad WilsonBy Vika https://pictolic.com/article/11-captivating-studio-portraits-of-wild-animals-captured-by-brad-wilson.html
Brad Wilson, an art history and studio art graduate, discovered his true calling in photography after experimenting with various creative pursuits.
In 2010, he embarked on the "Affinity" series, capturing the essence of exotic animals through his lens, a project that not only showcases his technical capability in lighting and framing but also his ability to draw out the unique expressions of his subjects.
Working with iconic and visually striking animals, Wilson navigates the challenges of photographing creatures ranging from small birds, which are relatively cooperative, to the more willful big cats, seeking those fleeting moments of connection amidst the chaos of the studio.
Today, Wilson resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where, between home remodeling projects and outdoor activities, he continues to innovate in his field, with plans to release "Hybrid Life," a series blending traditional and digital photography techniques.
Pictolic reached out to Brad Wilson, a distinguished photographer known for his captivating "Affinity" series of up-close studio portraits of exotic animals. In this revealing interview, Wilson shares his journey into photography, the process behind selecting his subjects, the challenges of working with wild animals, his educational path, and exhibition history alongside a few other things.
Wilson shares, "From an early age I always had an interest in creative pursuits like drawing and painting, but it wasn’t until the later years of my time at university that I began to seriously consider these pursuits as a career. I graduated with a degree in art history and studio art, but even that gave me no real direction - until I picked up a camera. Suddenly all my training in the arts made sense and I knew what I wanted to do."
He also explains his criteria to us at Pictolic: "I selected ones that were iconic, visually striking, and interesting to me. Of course, my choices were limited by the small number of animals that could be brought into a photo studio and could be near humans with some degree of safety."
The photographer also detailed the spectrum of ease when it came to certain animals, "Yes, to some extent. Small birds were relatively easy because they were generally perched on a trainer’s arm and could be moved into optimal positions. The hardest animals were big cats because they did what they wanted and were mostly immune to any sort of direction or coercion. Regardless, with all the animals I photographed, there were only a few good seconds out of several hours, and my job was to wait patiently for that special moment of connection or revelation. I called it a 'mediation in the middle of organized chaos'."
Wilson's ambition extends to photographing elusive subjects like polar bears and pandas, although he acknowledges, "cost and access are huge barriers at this time, so it’s unlikely I will get the chance." His expertise is not just innate but honed through a dedicated pursuit of knowledge and experience. Reflecting on his education, the photographer states, "Once I graduated from university I took some local classes in photography and then worked at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops for a summer. Afterward, I moved to New York City and started assisting established commercial and fine art photographers for several years... More than anything, that was my real education."
Wilson's work has not only been a personal journey but also a professional triumph, with numerous exhibitions to his name in places like Santa Fe, Paris, and London, and his participation in art fairs across Europe and Asia.
Outside the studio, Brad finds solace and inspiration in the natural beauty of Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he resides. He shares, "I live in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico surrounded by mountains and desert. I spend my free time in the gym, hiking or working on a variety of landscaping and home remodeling projects." Looking forward, Wilson is excited about his upcoming project, "Hybrid Life," which promises to merge traditional and innovative techniques, showcasing his ongoing commitment to exploring the boundaries of photography and animal portraiture.