Image by Craig Letourneau One of the marks of a great portrait photographer is their ability to capture an individuals personality, often in only a single frame. There are lots of little tricks portrait photographers can use to help them get to know their subjects, often involving chatting with them and getting to know them through conversation. But what if your portrait subjects don't speak with words? How do you get to know the personality of, say, a fox? For Roeselien Raimond, a photographer and artist based in the Netherlands, getting to know wild foxes is something she loves to do and has seemingly gotten down to a science.
“There’s a contradiction going on when it comes to capturing Zen Foxes: the harder you try, the more you’ll move away from your goal. If you are too eager, an animal will sense that eagerness and will remain alert. I learned to do as foxes do, just being there and see what might happen. And in the mean time, I just enjoy smelling some fresh air and feeling the sun on my skin.”
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Having spent countless hours watching and enjoying the company of her wild fox friends, the photographer has learned a lot about foxes, like domestic pets, each have their own unique personality that sets them apart from one another.
“When you face a fox, you face personality,” explains Raimond, “…we still tend to grossly underestimate our fellow earthlings and regard them like interchangeable particles of a uniform set. Did you ever realize that “the fox”, as our beloved pet dog or the cat, consists of countless individuals, each with their own specific characteristics? Some a little dumb, others quite intelligent. Some creative and entrepreneurial, other boring and passive and some even downright funny. So many foxes, so many faces. Literally! And each “face” hides a unique character.” So, without further ado, here's a Raimond's latest collection fox portraits. Enjoy as the photographer uses her own words to detail some of the observations she's made about each of the 12 individuals included in the series. Smiling Fox The mother of all foxes. Almost literally. Relaxed must have been her middle name and enjoying her second nature. Being the personification of satisfaction itself, she could just calmly sit in the sun for hours and hours, watching her grandchildren play and relish this sight. Moreover, she was living proof that animals can smile. Motto: It’s All Right. It Always Has Been and Always Will be. Funny Fox Should fox humor exist… she’s definitely got it! As well as a huge fox heart. When her big sister left the parental territory, she decided, against all fox mores, to come along. As a reward for room and board she treated her sister with a daily cleanup. When the Queen Mum died, she became alpha fox willy-nilly. Someone’s got to the job, right? From airy joker, she turned into a lady who knows the ropes. By resolutely wiping mothers lovers from the territory, she claimed direct order. She may be one of the smallest foxes, but size does not matter in fox country. Owning the biggest mouth does. Motto: It’s a Womans World. Hunter Fox This lady in red was standing front row when red coats were distributed. Never before I saw a fox with such a perfect red cloak. The same goes for the distribution of self-confidence and courage. As a young fox she proved to be a mistress in making perfect mouse jumps. While her siblings lied lazily in the sun, she fanatically worked on her pouncing skills. And this discipline paid off; nowadays she bets higher and may call herself the mistress of chasing rabbits. Motto: You Say Jump, I Say ‘How High? Serious Fox The most respectable fox of the class. Unlike almost all other foxes, she actually has no bad habits at all. She therefore is the only one who actually behaves by the book and does exactly what you would expect from a red fox. She hunts mice, she sleeps, she eats, she cares for posterity, brings them up and chases her boys away as soon as they reach adolescence. You won’t find them neater. And not more boring either. (sorry, Serious Fox!) Motto: Why Not so Serious? Eager Fox As a young fox her favorite thing in the world was to steal just dug up lizards from her brother. This hunting technique was successful until puberty, when little brother suddenly became big bro and revised ratios. Since that time she has improved her hunting techniques, specializing in the looting of nests. Once a thief, always a thief, but a very sweet thief indeed! Motto: Better well stolen than bad invented. Old Dog Fox When I first met him he was already very old. As one happy grandpa on a bench at the jeu de boules, he was sitting in the sun. With a face only a mother could love and his unabashed attitude, he made me laugh. Had he been a man, he would, like an old expired hippy, go on and on about his childhood mischiefs. Motto: Happy happy joy joy. One-Of-A-Fox Being the smallest and weakest of the litter, she worked her way up to crowd pleaser. Rightly so. She had tough competition to her beauty queen mum, but won the race on character points. With her uniqueness, she became the uncrowned princess of the dunes. And despite her slightly misshapen jaw and unfoxy coat, she was a beauty as well. She proved that an animal has a free will and is able to make her own personal choices. Motto: I Did it my Way. Don Fox The Don Juan of foxes. Before reaching the age of one year, during mating season, he ran through the dunes like a madman. No female fox could resist this sad, intense gaze. All female foxes, from minor to elderly, he wrapped around his paw effortlessly. Big chance that in the the future the dunes will be flooded with little fox kits with this intriguing sad glance… Motto: Who’s Your Daddy?! Hyper Fox Small enthusiastic madcap with grand ambitions to succeed her mother as alpha fox; the sooner the better. She bended the fox rules by becoming teenage mom. She dominates the biggest and strongest men with her own secret weapon: terrible hysterical squeaking that makes the biggest fox shrimp. And all this is totally compensated by her wonderful sweet character and a gorgeous smile, she inherited from her grandmother. Motto: It’s Mine, Even Though it’s Not. Modest Fox Lacking a mirror, he will never know how irresistibly handsome he is and is doomed to remain the modesty itself. Never will he thrust itself upon on and beau as he is (or just afraid of another shouting match) he let go of all females. No matter how agitated it gets, he will keep his composure. Always. And wait quietly. Motto: My Time Will Come. Maybe. One Day. Miss Fox Quite a character; a fox with attitude. No one ever mocked this lady, not even her little fox kits. Go to Mom’s authority; bite guaranteed. And with the looks. With her bright red, full coat, her slender muscular body, long straight nose, proud ears and irresistible smokey eyes, she would win any beauty contest with ease. Probably she was less talented with regard to her choice of men, since most of her offspring wasn’t blessed with her beauty, but born with a jaw abnormality instead. Motto: I’m Too Sexy For This Site. Beaten Fox Aight. This guy may look like the Mike Tyson among foxes, with his imposing shaggy stature and scarred face. But looks can be deceiving and you couldn’t be further from the truth. This is the sissy among foxes. Even the smallest female fox gets him squeaking on the floor effortlessly. He is a softy that’s literally scarred by a heavy fox’ live. He probably thinks back with nostalgia to the days when the vixen accepted him as a partner in his territory, removed his ticks and licked his wounds. Fox life can be hard and regrettably the heyday of romance and loving care are over for him. Motto: Life’s a Bitch. If those have you wanting more fox photos, here's a couple images from some of Roeselien's earlier series, all of which are equally fascinating! To see more of Roeselien Raimond's work, be sure to check out her Facebook page, Instagram, and her portfolio on 500px. Raimonbd also has prints available for purchase in her online store, which you can find, here. For any great portrait you NEED to be able to use and manipulate light, there's no escaping that fact. Luckily, we have a course designed to bring your light skills up to scratch! “Fantastic Fundamental Light Skills” Further Resources