Affinity is the natural liking for and understanding of something or someone, it’s a spontaneous sense of connection. And having been to Brad Wilson’s photography exhibition at Le Méridien Piccadilly I could not think of a more perfect name for the show.
The exhibition is a collection of photographs Brad has taken both in his studio and on location of wild animals. The photos are so intriguing and the animals have such personality that you are automatically drawn to them and I couldn’t help but wonder what they were thinking.
Brad has so far taken photos of between 65-70 animals and hopes to soon photograph the panda and gorilla. He works with an animal coordinator in LA who helps organise the animals to be brought to his studio and holds two photo shoots a year with each animal taking two to three hours to photograph.
I was invited along to the opening of the exhibition which was hosted in the Terrace Grill and Bar at Le Méridien. Guests were welcomed with a Savannah Sunset cocktail before embarking on a journey among wildlife’s greatest and dining on canapés from the specially themed Affinity afternoon tea. These choux bun swans were unfortunately the only canapés I tried on the night but they were soft, sweet and oh so edible.
Anyone interested in animals, photography, wildlife, art, or those who just enjoy creativity should definitely visit the exhibition; the photos command attention without taking over the space and although it is housed primarily in the restaurant other photos can be found scattered among the hotel bringing colour and art throughout the property. Brad has managed to capture the personalities of the animals completely and by using a black backdrop it enables the viewer to connect directly with the animal and not be distracted by anything in the background.
Despite the photos showcasing the animals as calm and tame they were anything but and each one came with their own set of challenges and stories. During a shoot with one of the big cats, which Brad says are the most challenging to photograph, he realised what it was like to be prey. The animal had locked eyes on him and wasn’t going to react well to any sudden movements so Brad called for the trainers and moved away veeeeery sloooooowly to safety. My favourite story of Brad’s though was when he was photographing a chimpanzee and mid shoot the animal decided he wanted a hug so went up to Brad and threw him arms around him. ADORABLE.
They say never work with animals or children and maybe people who lack patience and creativity shouldn’t. But Brad Wilson was right to and should continue to do so because the results of his uncountable hours spent trying to capture elusive images are captivating and you can’t help but stand and stare into the eyes of the animals and be completely mesmerised.
The exhibition and afternoon tea continue until the 8th December.