Interview: Jo-Anne McArthur

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Jo-Anne McArthur is an award-winning photographer, author, and speaker from Toronto, Canada. Through her long-term body of work, We Animals, she has been documenting our complex relationship with animals around the globe. Since 1998, her work has taken her to almost sixty countries. In 2019 she founded We Animals Media. McArthur’s photography and writing has been in publications such as National Geographic and National Geographic Traveller, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Lens Culture, Medium, VICE and many more. We Animals images have been used by hundreds of organisations,
publishers and academics to advocate for animals. Recent awards include 2019 Wildlife Photographer of the Year, photojournalism category; Italy’s Festival of Ethical Photography award, Single Shot; Austria’s Alfred Fried Peace Award in 2018; and the 2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year, People’s Choice category.

Where did this all begin for you? What made you want to become a photographer?
There are two parallel lines which joined eventually. Those parallel lines were my love of and concern for animals, and my love for storytelling and art. I had gone on through life helping animals and volunteering at shelters, burying squirrels that had been hit by cars and were left on the street. There were all sorts of ways in which I expressed my love and concern for animals. Coming back to photography, it was when I realised there was this group of invisible animals, hidden animals as I call them, who weren’t represented in the world through media. We see a lot of wildlife and pets, but hidden animals not so much. So I realised that I had a big project on my hands and it continues to this day...


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Lorna Dockerill

Editor, freelance journalist & writer, covering all things underwater and nature photography

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