This Photograph Will Make You Cry and This One Smile

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, animals feel emotions, and how the animal emotion transposes to the viewer of your art décor photography. It is a fascinating subject!

It is unfair, but the real fact that most wildlife is at the mercy of human behavior. It particularly draws me to photograph what reflects our impact on the natural world. I believe that my photography can help facilitate change.

Do Animals Feel Emotions?

Undoubtedly, there is no denying that the fur seal cub above is distressed, and its face reflects that feeling.

That cub poised on this rock among thousands of sea lions. One poor cub trapped in the remnants of a fishing net. Unfortunately, there was nothing that I could physically do for that fur seal pub. But I hope that spreading this wildlife photograph around the world will raise awareness. If you wish, you as well can spread the word. Click on the photograph for a fine art photo print.

Unquestionably, there is much press about fishing nets and the sea turtle. Fur seals are also quite affected, as their natural food source is fish. Indeed, the same fish fishermen use to catch with that net.

In my private photo workshops, I spend time discussing how to capture the emotions of animals. Yes, animals feel emotions. Undoubtedly, the ability to capture emotion is what separates a rather bland wildlife photograph from one that will reach out and touch many viewers’ hearts.

Is it love? Is it an emotional connection? When you observe wildlife caressing each other and showing a sense of attachment, and you capture that within your photograph; you have indeed something unique!

I like to study the wildlife that I photograph. For that reason, I believe that the more I understand the animals, the better my wildlife photography will be. One resource that I like is onekindplanet.org. That resource is full of fascinating animal facts. While reading an article, I learned a few interesting facts about that indeed animals feel emotions.

Fact #1

Joy, grief, anger, jealousy. Scientists increasingly believe also animals feel emotions just as humans do. Plus, emotions play a critical role in their lives.

I could not say for sure what emotion this snow monkey in Japan was feeling. Indeed, the eyes are emotive. If I were to guess, I would say loneliness, since he was alone in this pool of water.

Fact #2

Furthermore, an emotional reaction differs from a sensation. Whereas an impression may cause an animal to turn and run in the other direction when it feels the heat of the 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. As animals feel emotions, all of a sudden, a fight most likely will happen!

Is this lioness experiencing an emotion or the reaction to a sensation? The more that I study the wildlife that I photograph, the better I get at identifying and anticipating their feelings.

Fact #3 (and a most interesting one)

Animals feel emotions, was first described by Charles Darwin in 1872. He described feelings as stereotyped facial expressions and bodily postures within specific contexts. As well 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. Undoubtedly, his conclusions were quite controversial.

These two zebras were fighting in the rain. It was indeed my opinion that it seemed personal!

I am of the view that most assuredly, animals can and do experience emotions. Indeed 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, while it maintains patterns of behavior. Human examples of social order include government, marriage, customs, sports, and entertainment. Undeniably, wildlife forms groups with social order.

Undoubtedly Some Wildlife Mates For Life

There is always a lead goose in the V flying formation. Undoubtedly, some wildlife mates for life, and will mourn the loss of their partner. Animals play together! See the similarity? With this, we see again, and animals feel emotions. As a wildlife photographer, you need to learn how to capture the emotion of your animal subjects. When you are successful, emotional energy will transfer to the viewers of your wildlife photography. Indeed, that makes them want to buy your wildlife photographs and hang them on the walls of their offices or homes. It gives the 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!

The quiet and soothing emotion displayed by this male lion is almost relaxing enough to put you to sleep right on the spot!

How do you learn to anticipate and capture emotion in wildlife?

First of all, you must study their species. Learn their habits. You are 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 is a massive part of what makes it so fun and exciting! There is always something to learn, like to observe that animals feel emotions.

The second key factor in capturing emotion in wildlife photography is 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 portfolio. Perhaps, emotion emotions will touch you. I hope so. If you would like to learn more about wildlife photography, please reach out to me here.

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