Never Caged, Never Staged

All of the animals in the gallery pages of Goat Island Images were photographed as wild, free-living beings.  None of the animals (including the invertebrates) were photographed in a captive situation, and I did not use food, decoys, recorded calls or any other artificial attractants to lure them within range of my camera.   When I take a photograph of an animal, I want it to show what the animal has chosen to do on his or her own terms, not what he or she has been forced or coerced to do on human terms.  I attempt to capture a glimpse of the unique character of each animal that I photograph, showing them not just as a representative of a certain species, but also as a fully-realized individual.

In college, Wildlife Biologists like me are taught to think of wild animals only in population terms, and wildlife management courses constantly reinforce the idea that individual wild animals don’t matter in the big picture. But individuals make up a population, and it is the diversity among these individuals that allows a population to stay strong and healthy.  Individuality is also what fuels the evolutionary process, and ultimately, populations are depleted at the individual level.  Finally, we don't connect with animals on a population level. We connect with the individuals that we see in images or in person. If we do not find a way to care about and protect the individual animals to which we are exposed, we have no hope of saving the overall populations. 

As you look at my images, I challenge you to look beyond the relative abundance or rarity of the animal's species and see the individual living beings before you. Whether a species numbers in the hundreds or in the millions, every individual is unique.