Artist Statement

Artist Statement

Soul Survival Series

As a young child, I became fascinated with the animals of our world. I was drawn to people, like Jane Goodall, who dedicated their lives to speaking out for animals who could not speak for themselves. As an educator, I have used my love for the animals of the world in hopes to share my passion for making sure these animals remain in existence.
My ideas for this personal project evolved into concentrating on animals of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species and the Species Survival Plan. The SSP utilizes the IUCN’s Red List for population management and conservation of chosen species in zoos and aquariums in North America. Once an animal makes this list, it has entered the road to possible extinction. I explored how I could produce a meaningful body of work which would draw viewers in to see how important it is for the species’ continued survival on our planet. I chose to photograph my chosen animals at a local zoo which participates in the Species Survival Program.
I would like to share with others the unique animal personalities I see when I view these unique and amazing creatures through my lens. I photographed these beautiful animals in a way that shows their personality and soul so that each photograph captures the essence of each animal featured in the series. I feel these beautiful, unique living beings are worthy of our attention, and I feel we as humans should strive to learn as much as we can about the creatures we live with on Earth. In the words of Jane Goodall, “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” I want my photographs of each of these animals to give people another way of thinking about these individual species of our Earth and the souls we would lose if we continue to take away their natural habitats.  I hope the animals of the Soul Survival series move those who view these photographs as much as I was moved when looking into these animals’ eyes and souls through my lens.
Nature Spirits Series
Capturing my love for our earth and for all living things residing on this beautiful, spinning sphere has led me to my own unique way of looking at the individual creatures with which we share our planet. From the most massive of these creatures to the tiniest ones, I strive to bring you a closer look into the world I see as I look through my lens.
My fascination with the tiniest of creatures began during my childhood. This fascination did not stop with the cute and the fuzzy ones. I wanted to learn everything I could about the lives I saw as I spent hours wandering in nature. When I began to photograph insects and arachnids, I found myself sitting or laying quietly amongst flowers, tall grasses, or anywhere that I found myself within inches of tiny faces staring back at me. The longer I sat, I realized bees, flies, grasshoppers, dragonflies, and butterflies seemed not to consider my existence as a threat even though my face or lens was only inches away.
On our planet, all living things are connected no matter how minute or gargantuan a life form may be. We as humans tend to fear that with which we are not familiar. I wanted to give these tiny nature spirits a larger than life appearance, so we can look into each one’s eyes and become familiar with each of these small spirits. My biggest hope is for people to come away with a newfound way of seeing them, so the next time they see a spider, bee, or dragonfly come across their path, maybe they will stop to take a closer look. Jane Goodall said her mission was to “create a world where we can live in harmony with nature.” I hope my photographs give viewers a new opportunity to look at bugs and spiders in a completely new light.

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