As I selected wildlife images from award-winning photographer David Lloyd for our members’ magazine this month, I longed to discover how he captured the pure detail of physical form, the essence of his subjects, and the striking beauty of the African landscape. So I decided to ask the man himself, and share a special look at his work with you.
How did you get into photography?
I think I took my first picture at the age of six. In my teens I got involved more, including developing and printing black and white pictures. Then my parallel interest in animals and wildlife bought it all together in the last 10 years.
What inspired you to create your book ‘As Long As There Are Animals’?
I believe the ultimate destination for pictures is print, so that was an important factor. I also wanted to show that animals have their own unique identities, each with a level of sentience and dignity, just as much as we do. It turns out that the book is succeeding in that respect, so that’s really satisfying.
What’s the appeal of black and white wildlife photography?
Black and white is certainly more popular than it used to be. It wasn’t so long ago, as recently as 10 years ago maybe, that there was virtually none. I’ve always enjoyed black and white anyway, it’s more contemporary. When I made my first images of wildlife, it was kind of unusual. Sometimes pictures suit black and white more than colour, at least to my eye anyway. If a picture improves as black and white, then it shall be.
Can you choose a favourite image from your book?
I could choose, but today’s choice wouldn’t be the same as tomorrow’s choice. I don’t have a solid favourite, but Amboseli Crossing is one that I think is my most perfect picture, there isn’t a single thing I’d change about it. It’s the movement it illustrates, the feet off the ground and dust. The bit of trunk and foot that you can see just coming into frame imply there are many more elephants on the way. It was taken on an old camera in 2007, and the sensor noise adds so much texture to the final print.
Maybe I’ve one or two other pictures which I might consider perfect or near enough to it; Enchanted Woodland is certainly one of them. Flehmen Response is special, as is A Flick of the Tail. A more recent one is Malaika, as that was the first black and white picture of a cheetah I was very satisfied with. I expected to achieve a satisfying black and white cheetah picture long before this one, but I didn’t!
What do you hope people will take away from your work?
When I first took them, I was just hoping that people might like them. I began with the premise that they ought to suit a frame and put on a wall. Now I’m hoping that people will also see more of what or who the animal is, its personality and individuality as well as its magnificence. Or if you’re so inclined, its spirit too, I guess.
If you’re lucky enough to see an elephant or a lion in the wild, one might look straight into you at close quarters and that memory will say with you forever. It’s then that you realise that each is an entirely perceptive individual.
David Lloyd’s breathtaking photo book As Long As There Are Animals was published in late 2014. Discover more of David Lloyd’s work and in the June 2015 issue of our members’ magazine Action.
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