The short version: I’m a conservation / small population biologist that enjoys nature photography & silversmithing / jewellery-making on the side. I’m currently living in beautiful Perth in Western Australia.
The long version: I was born in the US & lived first in the Bahamas & then in Florida as a kid, but my parents are Australian and we moved to north Queensland when I was a teenager. All three places were fabulous in terms of getting outside & exploring nature, and I always know I wanted to work with wildlife. I’ve spent 20+ years working as a conservation & small population biologist (mostly with frogs, but I’ve also worked with invertebrates, reptiles, birds & mammals), and I’ve been lucky enough to work with some incredible species in places like north Queensland, southwest Western Australia, NZ, the eastern US, Costa Rica, the Caribbean, the Seychelles & the British Channel Islands. I’ve worked in unis, conservation agencies & zoos, so I’ve got experience with field work (think late nights walking up streams & negotiating waterfalls in the pouring rain, and hours spent loitering around ponds, dams, roadside ditches & in swamps :)), research, education & conservation breeding programs. If you’d like to know a bit more about my work in conservation biology, this article in the Amphibian Ark newsletter talks about my experience working with frogs in more detail.
Given my fascination with plants & animals, it’s not surprising that they’re my favourite photographic subjects. I honestly can’t remember when I first picked up a camera, but my interest was very much fostered by my dad. I do remember getting a small point & shoot and several rolls of film for Christmas when I was 9 or 10 – I was so excited to finally have a camera of my own… While those first photos were hardly works of art, they really showed me the power of photography to capture moments in time & every little detail.
In particular, I love that ability to focus in on the little things and all the fine details that are often missed and turn them into the centre of attention. A quote by the fabulous American painter Georgia O’Keeffe that I read years ago really resonated with me: “Nobody sees a flower, really – it is so small – we haven’t time, and to see takes times…”. There are so many incredible plants and animals all around us and they all deserve to be truly seen, appreciated & protected – I hope I can help raise awareness about some of them & contribute to conservation efforts.
About Beasts & Blossoms…
Beasts & Blossoms grew out of my desire to use my images as a platform to create stronger connections between people and nature, and to highlight and help raise awareness of the diversity, beauty and value of the plants & animals we share this planet with, as well as the threats facing many of them. Ultimately, I want to promote stewardship & help support conservation efforts in as many ways as possible.
I’m particularly passionate about introducing people to the smaller plants & animals that are easy to miss entirely, or to glance at without really seeing. Because when you take the time to really see them, to learn about what they do and how they do it, you begin to appreciate them in their own right, to value them, to care about them. And that’s the key to conserving them.
I initially set Beasts & Blossoms up as a nature photography website, but I later realised that I wanted to do something more with the images I was creating than just prints and cards. Don’t get me wrong, I love my favourite prints, paintings and other artworks – they add beauty to my world and create connections to the places & things I love. But it’s a bit difficult to carry them around with me!
I have a lifelong love affair with accessories, particularly jewellery. I think that the best jewellery not only expresses our own individual style & personality, but also has meaning. It creates connections to the people, places & ideas that we care about, and it can be a way of expressing what’s important to us or making a public statement about our values. And I’d dabbled in jewellery making several times over the years. So, when I started thinking about what else I could do with my images, the idea of making jewellery really took hold. The aim of Beasts & Blossoms jewellery is to keep you connected to nature no matter where you are, & to spread the message about the beauty & value of the plants & animals we share the planet with to as many people as possible!
For me, the combination of photography & jewellery is perfect because I get to do not just one but two things I love, and support positive conservation outcomes by raising awareness, creating and strengthening connections with nature & generating funds to support nature conservation. Given my focus on nature & conservation, it’s very important to me that my prints & jewellery are as ethical & eco-friendly as possible (see Ethical & Eco-conscious for details), and that every purchase supports nature conservation or environmental protection efforts (see Supporting Conservation for details of nonprofits supported). I’m always looking for ways to reduce my impact even further, so if you have any suggestions, please get in touch!