Divine Animals: The Bovidae by R.J. Kern

R. J. Kern is a Minneapolis-based photographer whose work explores animal portraiture as it relates to ideas of home, ancestry, and a sense of place. ‘Divine Animals: The Bovidae’ explores how we see animals in a place, how we shape that place, and how it shapes us. Inspired by the compositions and lighting from landscape paintings from 1850, these photographs aim to elevate and revere the animals that continue to roam my ancestral land to this day.

Hi R.J. You talk about one of the influences of your photographs being landscape paintings from 1850, what is it about these that first inspired you?

Many of scenes depicted the normal, rendered extraordinarily. The compositions caught my eye, the visual narratives drew me in, and the quality of the lighting made me want to study the work again and again. Rich symbolism and thoughtful placement of subjects made me think deeper about societal issues we experience today – where cultural identity, landscape, and place collide.

To read the full interview, please visit the World Photography Organisation website.

The World Photography Organisation produces a series of exclusive interviews with the winners of The Fence annually.