I think it’s fair to say that animals, even more than cars, sunsets, and children, are the most photographed subject by listeners of the B&H Photography Podcast and, on this week’s episode, we speak with two photographers who not only have dedicated their craft to photographing animals, but bring to their process a compassion and advocacy that goes far beyond just a pretty picture.
Our first guest, Steve Morello, is recognized for his whale and polar bear photographs, but he is also a founding partner of Natural Habitat Adventures, a wildlife adventure organization dedicated to sustainable tourism and guide training programs in Peru, Tanzania, and the Canadian and American Arctic. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Alaska Whale Foundation, where he assists on research projects and is currently working together with tourism planners, scientists, and local fishermen to conserve a newly created marine sanctuary off the coast of Peru. Morello’s photos have appeared in National Geographic and The New York Times, and he is a major contributor to the photo collection of the World Wildlife Fund.
After a short break, we welcome photographer Isa Leshko to discuss her series Allowed To Grow Old: Portraits of Elderly Animals from Farm Sanctuaries, which has been made into a gorgeous new book by University of Chicago Press. Photos from this series have appeared in The Atlantic, Harper’s, and The New York Times, and will be exhibited at the Richard Levy Gallery, in Albuquerque, and at ClampArt Gallery, in New York.
Leshko provides insight into her process and workflow as it evolved over the many years she worked on this project. Her dedication to process is clear as she explains how she hit upon this idea, why she chose certain animals to photograph, what cameras and gear she decided upon, and how the series developed into an advocacy project. She emphasizes her cognizance of the power dynamic in portrait photography and how respectful interaction for and even a form of collaboration with the animals was fundamental to create this type of portraiture. Join us.
Guests: Isa Leshko and Steve Morello
Photograph © Steve Morello