Never Work With Children – As For The Animals……

It isn’t very often I get the chance to work with models of a non-human variety. But when I do, it comes all at once. And that makes me very happy because I love ALL the animals!

Gary Clutterbuck is known for his imagery. He doesn’t scrimp and he knows what he wants to create. So when he wants to work with animals, he really works with them and he knows how to find the best people for the job. Last year I worked on my first shoot with Gary. At the same time he had brought in Reptile Life based in Ruskington near Lincoln, to supply and manage the animals. Almost a year later, I was booked for my second photoshoot with Gary and again Reptile Life were part of the team.

Teasle the Eagle Owl gets to know her surroundings for our day's shooting. Pictured here with handler and owner of Reptile Life, Rob Louth.

Teasle the Eagle Owl gets to know her surroundings for our day’s shooting. Pictured here with handler and owner of Reptile Life, Rob Louth, who’s story as to how he started his company is as fascinating as the huge array of animals he currently houses.

Dorothy, one of two crocodiles which featured this week. A more magnificent and prehistoric creature you could not wish to meet on a shoot set!

Dorothy, one of two crocodiles which featured. A more magnificent and prehistoric creature you could not wish to meet on a shoot set! And probably the most chilled out model I’ve ever worked with. What a pro!

Team photo with Burmaese Python known as 'the big boy' for obvious reasons.  Our team from left to right: Johny Lintin (Reptile Life), Aaron Best (hairstylist), Louise Shephard (MUA), Gary Clutterbuck (Photographer), Ulorin Vex (Model), me!, Rob Louth (Reptile Life)

Team photo with a Burmese Python known as ‘the big boy’ for obvious reasons. Our team from left to right:
Johny Lintin (Reptile Life), Aaron Best (Hairstylist), Louise Shephard (MUA), Gary Clutterbuck (Photographer), Ulorin Vex (Model), me! (Falcieri Designs), Rob Louth (Reptile Life)

This time there were two models, shooting over four days in Hull, three with a variety of exotic critters. What’s not to love? I always take up the opportunity to meet and greet animals. Some of those we came across I have met before, but there were plenty of new ones as well as one or two bucket list animals.

Much as I would like to, I can’t show you any of the final images yet as they are reserved for publication. I’ve thrown in a few back stage shots here to give you an idea, but you’ll have to wait to see what really took place. What’s the point if I give it all away now?

What I can tell you is that this shoot included two crocodiles, an Eagle Owl, a Barn Owl, a skunk, an assortment of snakes, and a fox. Additional attendees included a chameleon named Russell and two tarantulas.

Birds of all kinds are my weakness. I adore our feathered friends. And birds of prey are of course a particular favourite. During our shoot Dexter the Barn Owl and Teasle the European Eagle Owl joined us and did their stuff in front of the camera. They are magnificent creatures. I could have sat there watching them all day. But I had a job to do helping our two models Olga Kaminska and Ulorin Vex get ready to step in front of the camera.

Cherry the Fox and model Ulorin Vex have a bonding session pre-shoot. Gaining any animals trust is paramount if you want it to play your game in front of the camera.

Cherry the Fox and model Ulorin Vex have a bonding session pre-shoot. Gaining any animal’s trust is paramount if you want it to play your game in front of the camera. And foxes are no exception!

The technicalities and practicalities of working with animals are simple. In many ways they are like people. They have their issues, their likes, their dislikes. They have their good days and their bad. I treat the animals in my life much like the people. To me they are at least equals. There is something about animals which instills a sense of respect in me that I cannot describe. And although I don’t claim to be any kind of expert I like to think I know how to treat them with care and respect.

I would never work with anyone who mistreated their animals or put the shoot or a paycheck before their welfare. That’s not how it works. To me, animals are equals and they deserve to be treated as such. When you work with Reptile Life, you don’t just get animals on set, you get a whole education in the lives and psychologies of the animals that are there. I am bowled over by Reptile Life and their enormous respect and consideration for the animals. And that gets a huge plus in my book. If you’re looking for someone to bring animals to your photoshoot, these are the only people you will ever need. There really isn’t anything else I can say.

A tick off my bucket list. Face to face with a Tarantula. In awe! And yes, that is me.

A tick off my bucket list. Face to face with a Tarantula. In awe of this beautiful lady named Tina!

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