Argentinian American photographer Guadalupe Laiz captures the grandeur of wild animals through her lens. Driven by the belief that art and beauty transform how people view nature, Laiz focuses upon its multifaceted voice as her subject. Examining various issues of climate change, the photographer creates imagery that communicates the importance of animal abuse awareness, environmental conservation, and sustainable living.
Laiz works are collaborations between herself and wild animals that express the shared sensibilities of all species. Viewing nature as a grand storyteller, Laiz functions as an ambassador that documents secrets from the wild. Her courageous spirit and desire to produce authentic imagery brings her to exotic corners of the world that remain unfettered by most. Every year, the photographer travels to Africa and spends several months scouring the regions of Rwanda, Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, Uganda as well as Nordic countries. With the help of local organizations and communities, Laiz gains access to forbidden areas that place her in dangerous yet desired proximity with wild animals (sometimes as close as two feet!).
The result of Laiz’s risky positioning in unmonitored habitats are gorgeous macro portraits of majestic creatures where every detail is exposed. From pores to fur, these intense studies uncover the humanity of wild animals while raising urgent questions about the conservation of our environment and waning protection of our planet. Laiz shoots both film and stills with a digital camera. She prefers to work with a short camera lens which allows her to photograph animals at a very close range. Other essential ingredients for her compositions include location access, timing, and a thorough understanding of animal behavior. Her command of cooler tones—sepia, black & white—and wielding of light work together to enhance the features of Laiz’s subjects. From the impossible matrices of wrinkles on elephant trunks in The Leading Bird, 2022 to the ethereal light in Love, 2022, the textural aspects of each composition are impeccably showcased.
Laiz’s photographs feel particularly resonant today as they serve as an important reminder of what is being lost. The artist offers about her work, “We are all connected. As animal rights continue to dwindle, we need to rebuild them. Through our human connection with animals and our planet, we can restore and protect them.” Entranced by visions of solemn beauty, the viewer stands in their own vulnerability and the illusory veil that separates them from the rest of Creation that is quietly dissolving.
Later this month Laiz will participate in Mirror, Mirror, a group exhibition at Agora Gallery that delves into the way we reflect on the world and society at large. The show explores the theme of reflection from two different angles. While one perspective depicts how artworks act as specular images of an artist’s emotional or physical environment, the other attitude reveals how artworks represent an ideal reality through personal utopias or a selective focus on the miracles of the natural environment, which are slowly disappearing.
Laiz has an Associate Degree in Photography from Colorado Mountain College and a bachelor’s degree in Photography from the Art Institute of Colorado. Her first book of photographs, Horses of Iceland, was published by teNeues in 2019. Her second book titled Among the Living, Where You Belong is slated to be released in the fall of 2023. Laiz lives in Aspen, Colorado, where she runs a fine art photography gallery and plans on opening a second location in Dallas within the year. Dedicated to animal rights, Laiz donates her time by conducting conservation work for nonprofits like Save Giraffes Now and Lewa Conservancy for Rhinos.