Graphis Master Tim Flach is a photographer best known for his stylized portraits of animals, and for the originality that he brings to capturing animal behavior and characteristics. His work is driven by a desire to better communicate stories of the natural world, and to explore questions around art, communication, and conservation science. In recognition of his work, he has received numerous awards, including an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Photographic Society and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Arts London (NUA). His photographs are showcased in exhibitions and galleries around the world, and he recently published his latest photo book, Birds; previous publications include Equus, Dogs (published in the United Kingdom as Dogs Gods), More Than Human, Endangered, and Who Am I?, his first children’s book. He works in London, where he lives with his wife and son.
Flach brings light to environmental issues like wildlife conservation with photography that captures the beauty, life, and motion of animals from across the globe. His signature high contrast and attention to detail make you feel like you could almost reach out and touch the subjects within. As Dr. Michael Pritchard, Director of Programs of the Royal Photographic Society said, “He directly engages the public through the beauty of his photography, powerfully highlighting important issues around conservation and the need to protect nature.”
Here is a snippet of Tim Flach’s Q&A:
Who is or was your greatest mentor?
I wouldn’t say that I have specifically had mentors over my career, but I have often learned and drawn inspiration from old master painters, probably more so than photographers. Having said that, I believe that a good understanding of the history of my craft and those that have been influential in it is also vital. I have also found that being in contact with other photographers is a great way to grow. Sharing ideas, issues, and ways in which we have overcome problems is a great way for everyone to move forward together.
Who were some of your greatest past influences?
When I first ventured into the photographic industry, Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, and Bill Brandt inspired me. During this period, these were the high-profile photographers of the time and as a result, had a particular influence on my early work.
Who among your contemporaries today do you most admire?
I have often been amazed by Nick Knight for his innovation, playfulness, and tenacity to keep taking photos. He is never scared of experimenting and pushing his work.
Who has been some of your favorite people or clients you have worked with?
I have worked with a wide variety of clients over my career, and many have been very enjoyable, but my true passion has always been my book projects where I immerse myself in a topic for years at a time. While working on my book Endangered, I really enjoyed working with charities such as the Zoological Society of London and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.
To read more of Tim Flach’s interview and discover other great artists, check out Graphis Journal #372, which can be purchased online at graphis.com.