Tim Flach’s Spring Shoots Super Stage talk is now available to view on demand, and it’s a must-watch for anyone interested in animal or wildlife photography.
Internationally renowned, Flach is a leading exponent of the art form, and brings approaches used in human portraiture to his photography, where he seeks to display the character and personality of his animal subjects.
He does this to create empathy, because as he notes in his talk, “empathy has been proven to be the first stage in caring.”
Flach is currently working on a new book called Birds, and talks us through some of his best-known photographs, revealing some genuine insights into how he creates his images.
We also get a fascinating glimpse of Flach at work, including shooting birds in a bespoke studio within a barn, and photographing galloping horses in Iceland.
Birds will follow Flach’s other published works including Equus (2008), Dogs Gods (2010), More Than Human (2012) and Evolution (2014).
The photographer’s signature style is imbuing animal portraits with personality and character, as he aims to draw an emotional response from the viewer.
And Flach’s recognisable aesthetic benefits from the use of certain techniques which he explores in his talk.
An intriguing one is left-side bias, and why we tend to look at the left-hand side of faces first. Flach reveals it’s how we’re wired – the right-hand side of the brain is responsible for facial recognition – and goes on to explain how just a few minor adjustments to an image can make a major difference in how we perceive it.
A key area of Flach’s talk, titled ‘How to evoke empathy through animal portraiture’, concerns anthropomorphism [the attribution of human characteristics or behavior to non-humans]. He defines this as an “attention-grabbing moment that will take us and make us care.”
“Photography is a really important medium, and it's a way to connect us with storytelling, but we do need a form of anthropomorphism – a bridge between us and animals.
“So at a time when we're more and more separate from the natural world, we're able to understand and connect with their stories.”
‘How to evoke empathy through animal portraiture’ with Tim Flach runs to one hour, including questions from the audience, and you can watch it here (once you have registered for The Photography Show, and bought a ticket for this keynote session).