Better Living With Alpacas
Taking a break from his zen life with alpacas, the photographer told us all about the project, which will be available starting December 13 following our launch party at the office Newsstand. Read the interview and don’t forget to pre-order the calendar here.
What can humans learn from alpacas? What would be their advice for better living?
Alpacas are always positive and smile all day long. They transport their positive energy to others and make them feel better. If we would take care of each other a bit more and face each other with a friendly disposition, it would be a better world for all of us.
Your photo series Jumping Cats made perfect use of environment for the furry subjects. How did you choose the locations for Better Living with Alpacas?
I did not choose the settings—I'm only a silent observer with my camera and I didn't know about these wonderful locations beforehand. Alpacas are super picky when it comes to architecture and they only want to have their picture taken in the most astonishing places. They gravitated towards gorgeously designed spots from architects Adolf Loos and Mies van der Rohe for the calendar project. I'm very glad they introduced me to these spots.
Were you excited to work with animals again? What made you want to focus on alpacas?
Their positive energy is from outer space. When I first met them, I drove out from the city to meet up with them and was still stressed out from everyday work. But when I looked into their smiling faces, I felt a big relief and had to smile back at them. I could not think about anything more beautiful than sharing that experience with as many people as possible through my calendar hanging in their kitchen and making their lives a bit happier every day.
The alpacas featured in the series all look well-groomed and relaxed. Was there a casting process to find the best alpacas to photograph?
They all went to a top-tier school called ‘Senninghof’ and are super happy to hang out there everyday. All of them have been enthusiastic about participating in the project.
Alpacas are a pretty unique animal—can you give us a few cool alpaca facts?
Of course—they have some amazing features! Their fur is flame and water-resistant, meeting the standards of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's rigid testing specifications as a Class 1 fiber for use in clothing and furnishings. They also walk the Earth in a rainbow of hues—22 colors in total. Last but not least, they enjoy serious longevity with a lifespan of up to 25 years.
If you had to spend a year as an animal what animal would you be?
Oolong The Rabbit.
What’s next for you in terms of photography? Are there any new animals you'd like to work with in the future?
I have no idea. Usually animals come up to me—I don't actively seek them out. With animals, you just have to let go and be very patient. I would love to shoot fashion stories with them because I think animals are better models than humans and look great in everything.