The Portrait Collection
by Timothy Dunn
Many years ago, a very wise old man who I met in Thailand told me something that has and will stay with me for the rest of my life that.
“Your eyes are the window to your soul.”
From that day forth I’ve had an almost addictive fascination with eyes, in both humans and animals.
So much so that on my last trip to Africa I set out with the intention of seeing for myself if this fascination would translate with animals through photography.
I personally am not one for using large telephoto lenses so to make this work we had to get as close as possible to the animals whilst being mindful they are wild, and we are in their back garden. Having incredibly knowledgeable guides and being extremely respectful was in my mind the key to either the success or failure of what I was trying to achieve. Daniel our guide in the Mara was a man I trusted with my life who had made a huge impression on me, his knowledge of the Mara and ultimately lions was absolutely incredible. Some years previously he introduced me (not literally) to the brothers Brown and Scar, two dominant male lions located in Sands River close to the Tanzania border. Brown especially was a near perfect specimen of what I imagined to be a dominant male lion, bearing in mind these were the very first lions I had ever seen in the wild, and to say it was a baptism of fire was an understatement.
Daniel was convinced Brown recognised him and there was without doubt some sort of connection as he had been following him from a couple of weeks old and Brown was now nine.
We followed Brown for four days in the hope we could get that one shot where we were looking each other straight in the eyes, on the said day we got to within a few meters over a period of about four hours.
The door of the truck was open, me lying on my stomach looking directly at Brown, I shuffled a little in a forward motion which I believe he deemed a threat, our eyes never left each other as I pressed the shutter.
The rest is history.
My focus now was to try to recreate that situation with all manner of animals whilst focusing on their eyes “the window to their souls.”
This collection is the cumulation of four years’ work and something I am very proud of.