How We Might Evoke Empathy with Animal Portraiture
Tim will be discussing his body of work, as well as how animals can be depicted in a way that can connect us with them, and evoke empathy, potentially leading to conservation
Visual Theories and Iconic Imagery
Tim has always been fascinated by how and why certain images have become iconic, and
what they have in common. He is going to explore perceptual theories around luminance
and colour, left gaze bias, and composition.
About Tim Flach:
Since becoming a professional photographer in the 1980s, Tim Flach has become renowned as one of the most influential animal photographers in the world. Tim seeks to use photography to shift public and scientific perceptions of the natural world towards an understanding that is more compatible with the demands of an ecological crisis.
Tim often employs principles of human portraiture to raise these issues in his photographs. His approach focuses on animals’ personalities and provokes powerful emotional responses in the viewer, encouraging them to rethink our place in the natural world.
His early fine art photographs, such as the abstract ‘Horse Mountain’ (2003), earned him international recognition. ‘Monkey Eyes’ (2003), an image of a macaque peering over the bottom of the frame, won him a prestigious Gold Award from the Association of Photographers. His first two published books, Equus (2008) and Dogs: Gods (2010), critically observed the mythology and ethics of our relationships with horses and dogs.
More Than Human (2012) is a series of portraits and abstracts which explores the quirks and idiosyncrasies of a huge number of species. The photographs examine the ways in which humans have shaped animal biology and raise pertinent ethical, political, cultural, ecological and philosophical issues about the relationships between human and non-human animals. A compilation of Tim’s work was organised into a book called Evolution (2014), which examines both the development of his photographic style and evolution in the organic world.
His signature style is often described as “stylised animal portraiture”, but Flach is also accomplished in landscape and wildlife photography. For his latest book, Endangered (2017), Tim has begun to consider photography as a means to communicate threats to the world’s ecological stability. He has travelled around the world to photograph species on the edge of extinction. Tim photographed the last male Northern White Rhino in Kenya, as well as many exceptionally rare species such as the Ploughshare Tortoise, Scimitar Oryx and White-Backed Vulture in their wild habitats. Tim found that protecting habitat was essential for the health of these species and ecology more widely. He aimed to use the emotions of kinship evoked by his portraiture to connect viewers emotionally to the environments in which threatened species live. Flach’s core belief is that widespread emotional response leads to direct action.
In addition to his monographs, he has collaborated with institutions such as National Geographic for Rarely Seen (2015) and the Rachel Carson Center for A Cabinet of Curiosities for the Anthropocene (2018). He has been commissioned and featured in world-class publications such as National Geographic, The New York Times, The Guardian and The New Scientist. He has lectured at universities worldwide, and given talks on photography and conservation at venues such as the Zoological Society of London, TEDxWarwick and the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Since graduating in 1982 with a postgraduate certificate in Photography and Painted Structures from Central St Martins in London, Flach’s professional work has been recognised with a wide range of accolades and honours. He has received two Platinum Graphis Awards and two Yellow Pencils from the D&AD. He has been recognised as Professional Photographer of the Year for Fine Art in the International Photography Awards and given an honorary doctorate from Norwich University of the Arts. As an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society (HonFRPS), he was made an Accredited Senior Imaging Scientist (ASIS FRPS) in 2018. In addition to his awards, he has served on the judging panels for some of the most prestigious awards bodies in the world. He has a permanent collection displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and his work can be found exhibited in art and science museums in capitals across the globe.
Are you looking for access to a specific Bark-A-Lounger presentation? Want a replay of the full conference? Recordings are now available! Follow the link for information and access.