Documentary photographer Amy Jones reveals her thought-provoking images of animal abuse

Amy Jones
A pregnant cow is restrained by her neck at a dairy farm. Western corporations are pumping huge sums of money into expanding Sri Lanka’s industrial dairy sector (Image credit: Amy Jones)

In 2018, my partner and I founded the photojournalism project Moving Animals. Since then, I have worked on the ground across seven different countries to shoot animal issues around the world to help draw attention to the creatures used for entertainment, food and fashion. 

Initially, my interest in photography stemmed from wildlife photography. I remember visiting a wildlife photography exhibition in London, marvelling at the camera’s ability to inspire the world to protect and appreciate nature. But the image that affected me the most was Broken Cats by photojournalist Britta Jaschinski. The image showed three big cats standing on their hind legs during a wildlife performance. It is a devastating shot, and to me it truly represents the cruelty we inflict on animals.

At a zoo in Thailand, this tiger is kept chained by the neck so that tourists can take photos with her. She spends her days pacing in small circles. (Image credit: Amy Jones)

Most of my work is shot on the go, so I try to keep my kit to a minimum. When I began the Moving Animals project, I started with just a Nikon D5600 – it was fairly light, durable and the image quality was great – but as I started to push my work further, I realized that I needed more from my kit and upgraded to the Nikon D810. 

I use the Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 and Nikon 50mm f/1.8. The 50mm lens has changed and shaped the way that I photograph and connect with subjects. When watching an animal being slaughtered or struggling against chains just a couple of feet away, it changes you, and I think that this is also reflected in my work. 

An intensive egg farm where over 300,000 hens are housed. There are up to eight hens in a single cage, meaning there isn’t enough space for them to spread their wings. (Image credit: Amy Jones)

Out of sight, out of mind

My work seeks to replace false narratives with images of what is really happening to animals behind closed doors, giving people a glimpse into the places that are kept hidden from us. For example, the animal agriculture industry advertises images of happy animals in open fields when that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Recently, as more photographers start to pick up their cameras to help tell animals’ stories, this kind of photography has taken form and structure through the classification of Animal Photojournalism (APJ). APJ is an exciting, emergent genre of photography, which seeks to document and expose the experiences of animals who live amongst us, but who we fail to see. 

This monkey spends his days alone, locked in a small, empty cage. When tourists arrive, he is taken out to perform tricks. (Image credit: Amy Jones)

The surge of support for APJ has also recently been elevated thanks to the new book HIDDEN: Animals in the Anthropocene. Created by Jo-Anne McArthur and Keith Wilson, HIDDEN is an unflinching book of photography about our conflict with animals around the globe, as depicted through the lenses of 40 award-winning photojournalists and with a foreword by Oscar-winning actor and animal rights advocate Joaquin Phoenix. 

This crocodile is performing in a pool of water as a crowd watches on at a wildlife tourism venue in Thailand.  (Image credit: Amy Jones)

Amy Jones is one of the 40 contributing photographers to HIDDEN: Animals in the Anthropocene, a critically acclaimed book about the life and death of factory-farmed animals, published by We Animals Media.

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Adam has been the editor of N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine for almost 12 years, and as such is one of Digital Camera World's leading experts when it comes to all things Nikon-related. 

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