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Brad Wilson: Penguins | Affinity


photo-eye Gallery Brad Wilson: Penguins | Affinity Brad Wilson Santa Fe-based photographer Brad Wilson captures the essence of wild animals in his series Affinity. From magnificent elephants to stunning owls, his images explore mankind’s relationship with animals. His photographs call attention to the beauty and uniqueness of each subject with the aid of soft studio lighting and a deep black backdrop.


Brad Wilson, King Penguin #2, Albuquerque, NM, 2019, archival pigment ink, edition of 15, $1500

Santa Fe-based photographer Brad Wilson captures the essence of wild animals in his series Affinity. From magnificent elephants to stunning owls, his images explore mankind’s relationship with animals. His photographs call attention to the beauty and uniqueness of each subject with the aid of soft studio lighting and a deep black backdrop. 

Watch the below behind-the-scene video to see penguins waddling around and striking poses for Brad Wilson in a tiny makeshift photo studio at the Albuquerque BioPark.


Brad Wilson at work, Albuquerque BioPark


The Albuquerque BioPark recently completed work on a new penguin exhibition building which contains a multi-story 75,000-gallon saltwater aquarium. Soon after it opened, I was allowed in to photograph the birds living there. It was a challenging project from the start—the penguins had to stay at 42 degrees or colder at all times and the only refrigerated space I could utilize was quite small—a mere 10 x 11 feet. Fortunately, my assistant and I were able to squeeze in all the studio lighting and my black background with just enough room left for me to sit on the floor.

The next step was waiting in the cold for the birds to come in—something they had to decide to do on their own. We were not allowed to encourage them in any way and we could not block their exit once they arrived. Very quickly an amusing (albeit frustrating) sequence began: the penguins would march in as a group, huddle together close to me moving their heads continuously, and then file out a few seconds later. I realized that finding a still moment for any kind of meaningful portrait was going to be an extremely difficult task.

Three species are represented in the BioPark exhibit: Gentoo, Macaroni, and King penguins. Only one of these ultimately participated in my shoot: the kings. The other birds just stayed in or around the water—and away from the photo set. Lucky for me, the king penguins are visually striking animals with strong, colorful markings which made them excellent photographic subjects. In the end, despite the chaos of the situation, there were a few calm moments that allowed me to capture the images shown here.

— Brad Wilson


Bio:
Brad Wilson's early education in the visual arts began at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he studied art history and studio art. From there he moved on to both the Maine and Santa Fe Photographic Workshops to focus exclusively on photography before settling in New York City. In New York, Brad worked with a number of notable photographers and then began his own career in the commercial and fine-art genres. His work has been widely published around the world, appearing in numerous advertising campaigns, magazines, annual reports, and music packages. His fine-art photographs are currently represented by Doinel Gallery in London, Surround Art Gallery in Moscow, Artistics Gallery in Paris, and PhotoEye Gallery in Santa Fe. His first book, Wild Life, was released by Prestel. After more than a decade in New York City, Brad moved to New Mexico where he continues his photography surrounded by the beauty and tranquility of the southwestern deserts.





Prints are available in three sizes. All prices listed were current at the time this post was published.

For more information, and to purchase artworks, please contact photo-eye Gallery Staff at:
(505) 988-5152 x 202 or gallery@photoeye.com

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