Most city centres at night aren’t exactly family friendly, especially on a Friday. But city councils all over the UK are trying to produce events that encourage families to stay in the city after dark and to brighten up the dismal winter evenings. Nottingham has been putting on Light Night every February for the past 9 years, with the city attractions open late and buildings lit up, and special activities across the city.
Photographer Sharon Montrose takes pictures of people and their pets as well as mainstream human portraiture. However, she also likes to have more unusual subjects sit for her in her studio; like lions, giraffes, snakes and porcupines. Her style of using conventional portraiture techniques to shoot exotic creatures creates a unique feel to the images. The animals appear almost stuffed, like the photographs were taken in a natural history museum, but these are live beasts posing in a studio. I am sure that handlers and trainers are on standby, but Montrose must have a connection with the animals to get the results she does. Having taken plenty of photos of my cats, I know how hard it is to persuade an animal to sit still/jump/do anything interesting!
From a technical point of view, the lighting is just beautiful, often in stark contrast to the nature and appearance of her subjects. Her choice of framing is sublime, whether it’s the amount of white space around the animal or the choice to focus on a just part of the animal. Obviously given my love of felines, I find her cat images are amongst my favourites.
She has produced many books, usually focusing on cats or dogs, but her most recent is Menagerie (available now) and features some of the more unusual species from her portfolio.
You can also purchase prints of her work at ther online shop, or browse more of her images on her website.