The Other World: Animal Portraits

The Other World: Animal Portraits
By Brad Wilson Essay by Dan Flores Damiani Editore Forthcoming Fall 2021

This stunning new collection of photographs by Brad Wilson is inspired by the notion of the “authentic encounter,” that is, allowing the animal to reveal itself to us rather than imposing our subjective notions on it or on the picture.

Wilson works in cooperation with zoos and wildlife sanctuaries who bring the animals into the studio, where he photographs them against a black background. This makes the animals appear grounded and three-dimensional—magnificent, approachable, yet inherently mysterious. He describes the situation as a kind of “controlled chaos,” but in the end it allows him to create images that show each animal as an individual being with its own personality and dignity. There is no whiff of anthropomorphism here but rather a wise and respectful approach to these creatures with whom we share the Earth.

As Wilson says, “In each animal’s gaze we see a part of ourselves and catch a fleeting glimpse of another world, a world we once fully inhabited. In many ways they are what we used to be, and like us, they deserve to follow their own unique path into the future, wherever it may lead them. Their fate is fundamentally tied to our own and we must realize that our ascendency can no longer continue at their. Conservation is now vitally important, not just to save animals, but to save ourselves.”

Brad Wilson is a fine art and commercial photographer whose images have appeared around the world in advertising campaigns, annual reports, music packages, and in media ranging from CBS News to Audubon. His fine-art photographs have been shown in museums, galleries, and fairs in London, Paris, New York, Brussels, Copenhagen, Moscow, Beijing, Singapore,Tokyo, and Santa Fe. He is currently represented by Doinel Gallery in London, Surround Art Gallery in Moscow, Artistics Gallery in Paris, and PhotoEye Gallery in Santa Fe. Wilson is based in Santa Fe, NM, where he pursues his photography surrounded by the beauty and tranquility of the southwestern deserts.

Dan Flores is the author of ten books, most recently the New York Times bestseller, Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History (Basic Books 2016), and American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains (University Press of Kansas 2016). Pulitzer-winning novelist Annie Proulx has written that “his work ranks with that of Thoreau, William Bartram, Aldo Leopold, John Muir, Peter Matthiessen.” Flores’s essays on the environment, art, and culture of the West have appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune, as well as in Texas Monthly, Orion, Wild West, and Southwest Art. Flores is A. B. Hammond Professor Emeritus of the History of the American West at the University of Montana-Missoula. He lives outside Santa Fe, New Mexico.