Images copyright Alex Cearns. All rights reserved.
by Skip Cohen
Several times, I've written about my favorite thing about this industry. It's not about imaging directly, but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft.
Chef Alex Cearns joins us this month. Alex and I first met through a Tamron Recipes feature in 2019. It was great to catch up to her for this new episode. She's an artist, author, educator, and friend to so many artists in this industry.
She's a leader in her niche and is the recipient of 350+ awards for her photography, business, and philanthropy, including an Order of Australia medal in 2019 for services to animal charities through photography. Based out of Perth, Australia, she's also a talented "chef" with a love for wildlife. And that analogy between great chefs and photographers couldn't be more appropriate with Alex.
Her favorite cuisine is, without question, critters. And on a recent trip to the Serengeti, she spent some time focusing on eyes. There's very little more powerful than an animal looking right down your lens barrel.
We've all heard that expression, "The eyes are the gateway to the soul." I went looking to who gets credit for the quote and found Shakespeare, Leonardo Da Vinci, the philosopher Cicero and even the bible, according to Google. In each image, from the killer eyelashes on the giraffe to the two cubs feeding, you can feel the spirit of the animals. And in the case of the two cubs, Alex wrote:
My aim when photographing animals is always to try to get an image of a subject people are familiar with, and to capture it in a fresh and unique way which hasn’t been seen before – or in a once in a lifetime way if I’m lucky! It’s not easy to do as I can only ever work with what’s happening in front of me, and then if something does kick off I have to be ready for it, which is where skills and fast camera and lens combinations come in.
They were amongst a group of 18 lions feeding and found their best meal time vantage point when they crawled into the middle of it and began to feed. I was photographing from our jeep, slightly elevated from my subjects, and was able to zoom in and fill the frame with the carcass. It’s a glimpse into the brutality of mother nature and there’s a juxtaposition in this image between the cute feeding cubs and their graphic meaty cocoon.
Lens: 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD
Camera: Sony A1
Location: Serengeti, Tanzania, Africa
Alex needs to be on your radar. Click on any of her images featured in this post to link to her website, but don't stop there. Remember, she's also a sought after educator - after years of mentoring and coaching other photographers, she launched Black Cat Consulting and released her now sought after "Business Acceleration Program for Pet Photographers." You'll also enjoy her Facebook and Instagram posts. She's always sharing great images and information.
Tamron's reputation for quality never slows down. They'resetting the standard for some of the finest optics in photography, and recently won two 2023 EISA awards for their 50-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD and 20-40mm F/2.8 Di III VXD. But that's only part of the Tamron story. They continue to set the standard for support to the imaging community as well. Check out their education schedule going on all year long around North America.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.