Joe Zammit-Lucia photographs wild animals. I first became aware of his stunning work in the January/February, 2006 issue of Camera Arts magazine. I was immediately drawn to the animals in his portraits. They were mesmerizing to me and I found myself staring at them and returning to them many times, almost spellbound by what I was seeing.
Zammit-Lucia considers himself a conceptual artist working with photography to explore issues relating to the human animal. He is one of the world’s leading animal portrait artists, developing unique ways to use animal portraiture to explore the essence of “animality” and humans’ relations to animals.
In his portraits he wants to convey that individual animals have personalities, character and emotions and that these qualities differ from individual to individual. He wants to powerfully engage the viewer to look at wild animals as treasured individuals and to ask themselves, “Can I relate to this animal as an individual rather than as a mere specimen of species?”
Zammit-Lucia does animal portraiture in order to change the conception that some humans feel that the world is ours and that all other forms of nature are met with a certain amount of disdain and a lack of responsibility.
Through his work he hopes to get people to connect more with wild animals as individuals, much like they would with their pets. He wants to preserve the lives of wild animals by asking human animals to look into the eyes of the animals he photographs, and hopefully see the soul of the individual. Can you see what he sees?
His work has been presented in major public forums such as the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, the United Nations Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, and in private galleries in Europe and the USA. His images were exhibited in Venezia Immagine on the occasion of the Venice Biennale in 2007.
He has served as special adviser to the director general of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is currently a member of the IUCN Commission for Education and Communication; he is also a member of the advisory board for the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida International University, a board member of the African Rainforest Conservancy, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Zammit-Lucia is both author and photographer of “FIRST STEPS: Conserving Our Environment” based on a United Nations exhibit.