The Nocturne series is impressive – why did you choose to portrait these animals and where did the shooting took place?
Thank you. The animals were all photographed at their respective homes. The vast majority of them were sourced from conservation oriented zoos and wildlife rehabilitations centers. I am fascinated by all animals, and the idea of being able to make a ‘family album’ of sorts featuring so many different species that all had one thing in common was very appealing to me.
How long did it take you to finish the project from the moment you came up with the idea?
About two years.
I have read the review of your book online on Slate and learned that some of the animals where in fact photographed during the day, is there any of their behaviour in front of the camera worth telling us about?
Pretty much all of them were photographed during the day because I had to work within the handler’s schedules as opposed to the animals. In reality though, photographing them at night would have actually been more disruptive to them because we would have plunged them into bright lights during a time when they expect darkness. As it was, they were just a little sleepy, but soon woke up in front of the camera.
Can we learn more about your professional equipment?
I use Nikons and generally bring as little gear as possible. For most shoots in this book I generally only brought a D800 body, 2 lenses, a flashgun and a diffuser for the flash.
How is your Little Black Box – movable studio made? Did you make it yourself or any wildlife photographer can find it ready to buy?
My husband makes them out of black foam core. It’s just a box with holes cut in it for the lens to fit through. Anyone can make one. They’re very inexpensive and recyclable.
Have you studied science or biology in order to understand animal behaviour?
No, I’m a photographer and an animal lover but not a scientist. I learn an immense amount from all of the extremely knowlegable experts that I work with on my projects though.
Can you confirm what zoologists are already predicting that in the near future all the rarest species will be found in zoos or wildlife sanctuaries?
No, I am not qualified to make that kind of statement. However, it does seem feasible that some highly endangered species that are facing extinction in the wild will only be viewable in conservation oriented zoos if they cannot recover.
Can photography help overcome the human fear for the ugly and diverse in the animal kingdom? I personally love the gray tree frog and find that portrait amazing, showing details of the body that I would never come to appreciate otherwise.
I think that’s a very good question. It’s certainly my hope that these photos will give people a greater appreciation for species that they may never actually see close-up. I wanted to do very detailed, intimate portraits that make people may feel like they can literally reach out and touch the animal. They can see into their eyes, almost feel their fur or scales or quills. As you said, perhaps they will see beauty in an animal that never seemed beautiful before.
Where can we buy your Nocturne (Princeton Architectural Press) book?
You can buy it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. (Hopefully both are available in Italy?)
As we live so far from your place can you tell us a little about life in Rhode Island? How is your winter and summer there?
Rhode Island is beautiful. The buildings are all very old and we are surrounded by water. There are rocky, cliff beaches, sandy beaches and miles of scenic coastline. In the summer, people spend their days at the beach, swimming, boating, snorkelling…and in the winter, we just try to stay warm. We have cold, snowy winters and fairly hot summers. The weather is extreme but the seasons are beautiful and very distinct. Providence, the city that I live in, is very densely populated, so it’s crowded but other parts of the state are much more quiet.
And by the way… what is the origin of your name?
It’s an old English surname.