Animals Feel Emotions
When selecting a photograph to decorate your home or office, you should consider this carefully. What message do you want the viewer to receive? Today, I am going to discuss emotion, specifically animal emotion, and how the animal emotion transposes to the viewer of your art décor photography. It’s a fascinating subject!
Do animals feel emotions?
I think there is no denying that the fur seal cub above is distressed, and its face reflects that feeling.
He was poised on this rock among thousands of sea lions. He was the one poor fella trapped in the remnants of a fishing net. Unfortunately, there was nothing that I could physically do for this fur seal pub. But it is my hope that spreading this photograph around the world will raise awareness. If you wish, you can also spread the word. Click here for a photo print.
There is much press about fishing nets and the sea turtle. Fur seals are also quite affected, as their natural food source is fish: the same fish that is caught up in the net.
In my private photo workshops, I spend time discussing how to capture the emotions of animals. The ability to capture emotion is what separates a rather bland wildlife photograph from one that will reach out and touch many viewers’ hearts.
I like to study the wildlife that I photograph. I believe that the more I understand them- the better my wildlife photography will be. One resource that I really like is called: onekindplanet.org. This resource is filled with interesting animal facts. While reading an article on their website- I learned a few interesting facts about animal emotion…
Joy, grief, anger, jealousy… Scientists increasingly believe that animals feel emotions just as humans do. Plus, emotions play a critical role within their lives.
An emotional reaction differs from a sensation. Whereas a sensation may cause an animal to turn and run in the other direction when it feels the heat of fire. An emotional reaction would likely occur if a male lion approached one of the female lions in another male’s pride. Yes! That could be quite emotional. A fight most likely will happen!
Fact #3 (and a most interesting one)
Emotions, in animals, was first described by Charles Darwin in 1872. He described emotions as stereotyped facial expressions and bodily postures within specific contexts. He also explored the expression of emotions not only by humans, but also by cats, dogs, horses and other animals. He observed similarities between human and non-human animal expressions in line with his theory of continuity between species. It goes without saying that his conclusions were quite controversial.
I am of the view that most assuredly animals can and do experience emotions. I have witnessed it too many times to doubt this. Plus, animals have a very high social order. Social order is a system of structure, inter-relationships, values, and practices, which maintain patterns of behavior. Human examples of social order include government, marriage, customs, sports, and entertainment. Wildlife forms groups with a social order.
There is always a lead goose in the V flying formation. Some wildlife mates for life, and will mourn the loss of their partner. Animals play together! See the similarity? As a wildlife photographer, it is important to you to learn how to capture the emotion of your animal subjects. When you are successful… the emotional energy is transferred to the viewers of your wildlife photography. This makes them want to buy your photographs and hang them on the walls of their offices or homes. It gives them feeling, which they enjoy, or perhaps they want to influence the emotional context of someone else? A dentist or doctor may wish to hang a series of playful or calm wildlife photographs in their offices, because it puts the patients at ease!
How do you learn to anticipate and capture emotion in wildlife?
First of all you must study their species. Learn their habits. Taking a workshop with someone such as myself is a fantastic way to speed up that process. However, you must know that this learning is a lifelong activity. That’s a huge part of what makes it so fun and interesting! There is always something to learn.
The second key factors to capturing emotion in wildlife photography are developing your sense of anticipation and timing. You learn the behaviors. Then, you must be patient and observant. If you know your subject, and you have developed your ability to “see” (a.k.a. anticipation and timing), you will capture amazing emotional photography out there in the wild. I’d like to personally invite you to take a virtual walk through my gallery. Perhaps, you will be touched by emotion. I hope so. If you would like to learn more about wildlife photography- please reach out to me here.