The Sisters’ Artemis
There are few things in nature with as much deadly beauty as the movement of intent lionesses as they synchronously marry muscle and fur in a gait of predatory prowess.
They truly personify Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt.
There are many very good lion images already out there. It is thus surprisingly difficult to create an exceptional photographic artwork of a lion or lioness that stands out from the pack.
Lions spend a lot of time either resting or sitting in shaded areas and when they do finally move or look to hunt, they often use cover to disguise their movement, making it difficult to create a clean and pleasing image.
Whilst working with completely wild animals it is always a challenge to get intimately close, and particularly so with a potent sisterhood such as this. There are however times and places where you can create a work where the hunters are the unequivocal stars of the show, where backgrounds don’t distract but rather compliment, and where by using innovative techniques and creating a sense of intimacy and vulnerability, you set the stage for taking an image that steps out of the bounds of convention.
In this particular situation in Northern Namibia, we had happened upon a family of five adult lioness looking to hunt. Monique and I had the privilege of spending more than an hour alone in their company as they walked for several kilometres in search of prey.
This extended time with them afforded me the opportunity of the lionesses being comfortable with me lying on the ground ahead of their advance. Seldom is the time more than one cat focuses so intently on you, so to have both these two magnificent warrior sisters equally engaged was a sight and moment I will cherish forever.
Over the course of my life, I have been fortunate to spend many memorable times with lions all across Southern and East Africa. I am comfortable with them outside of a vehicle as well as on foot, knowing that for the most part we are not a normal part of their diet. If I am always respectful and read their body language, I am able to get close to them without causing them to feel threatened or actively seek to hunt me.
Instinctively you are always aware that you are the lessor of the two. You know these great cats can easily catch and kill you should they please. And it is at times like this, when just a few dozen meters away from a duo of huntresses, that I realise how truly insignificant I am. On even ground where I am only reliant on my senses, my speed and my strength, I am but nothing in comparison to their relative capabilities.
What a forgotten human feeling this is, one that our ancestors knew well whilst in the exposed company of hunters of fang and claw.
It is a gift I truly cherish and reflect on to have felt my vulnerability and failings by something as beautiful and powerful as these two Sisters’ of Artemis.
Exhibition: 173cm x 117cm (68″ x 46″)
Large: 146cm x 99cm (57.5″ x 39″) – AED 33,264
Classic: 118cm x 80cm (46.5″ x 31.5″)