Shannon Wild, coincidentally to her last name, is a wildlife photographer and enthusiast. Not only does she get up close and personal with dangerous creatures from all over the world, but integrates herself into surrounding societies quite different from ours here in America. She is passionate about animal welfare, as we are at Kingdom, and wants to share it with the world.
She took the time out of her constant travels to answer some questions for us.
Kingdom: Tell us a little bit about yourself…
Shannon Wild: I’m an Aussie now based out of South Africa, but working internationally.
I’ve always been fascinated and passionate about animals since I was small. I was a volunteer wildlife career in Australia specializing in reptile rehabilitation.
Photography came later after I started taking photos in my spare time. I enjoyed it so much I started educating myself more about the technicalities of photography. Before committing to photography full time I had a career as a graphic designer and then art director before I gradually made the transition to photography full-time, which was 13 years ago.
K: Why does wildlife inspire your photography?
SW: I’ve been passionate about wildlife all of my life. That has been a constant in my life and well before I ever picked up a camera. When my interest in photography came later there was absolutely no question what my subject would be.
K: What is it like being a woman in the photography field? Have you run into any struggles or discrimination because of your gender?
SW: It can be tough. It’s certainly a male dominated industry but for the most part male colleagues have been supportive. When I was first starting out I noticed it a lot more, I was often treated like it was a passing phase or hobby. After 13 years I notice it less and less as I feel like my body of work speaks for itself and my gender becomes irrelevant.
K: Do you have a mentor or someone you look up to?
SW: There are many but I really admire the work of Paul Nicklen, Tim Laman, Marsel van Oosten & Steve Winter.
K: On your Instagram page, there are many videos as well as photographs. What led to your decision to not only photograph wildlife, but also film it?
SW: I photographed professionally for almost 10 years before I started dabbling with filming. I first started using my Nikon since it has a filming feature and it wasn’t long before I was hooked. Since then I’ve upgraded to using RED Digital Cinema cameras filming all the way up to 8k, meaning the file size and quality is insane.
While I still absolutely love photographing stills, and there are some scenes that need to be captured that way, I adore filming and being able to capture sequences that can show more depth to an animal’s lifestyle and behavior.
K: We are dying to know, what was it like having a Golden Brown Baboon Spider photographed crawling on your face, many people’s worst nightmares?
SW: Surprisingly scratchy. They have pairs of little claws on their feet so that tickled a bit. I’m not scared of spiders and I handled this spider before she went on my face so I was able to see how calm she was. It was pretty fun actually!
K: Favorite wildlife foundation? Share it with the world!
*WildAid is a wildlife conservation that strives to stop the illegal wildlife trade. Their mission is to “reduce global consumption of wildlife products by persuading customers and strengthening enforcement.” (wildAid.org/about-wildaid) You can donate on their website or contribute by spreading the message to stop wildlife product consumption.
~~You can also help save threatened species by buying a Kingdom product! 15% of your purchase goes directly to wildlife conservations. Check out the upcoming blog posts on these conservations on the Animal Activism page.
Follow Shannon on Instagram: @shannon_wild