Predators, Portraits of the Missing Link in the British Landscape
“I now suspect that just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear
of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer.
Perhaps this is the hidden meaning in the howl of the wolf,
long known among mountains, but seldom perceived among men.”
- Aldo Leopold
My book begins with this wonderful quote by Aldo Leopold. His work, and this quote in particular has come to mean a lot to me during this project and the dissertation I wrote in conjunction with this project. To me these words embody the importance of all components in an ecosystem, and that without the apex predators, their prey will become overabundant and have a negative effect on the landscape. This is what has happened in Britain. Due to excessive hunting, the large predators of Europe (brown bear, wolf, lynx and wolverine) are no longer present on the British Isles, causing an imbalance in the ecosystem. This project looks at these predators as well as a few of their main prey species within the cervidae family.
Due to the budget and timeframe of my project, most of my photographic practice took place in controlled environments with captive animals. While I have a strong sense of ethics in wildlife photography, I also made a decision that this platform would be the most appropriate for this particular project. I do not wish to mislead anyone in my audience and thus I am open about this fact. A lot of effort and time was put into getting to know the animals and documenting their behaviour in a way that would correspond correctly to their wild counterparts.