Striking Photos Showcase the Elegant Beauty of Big Cats

Using only a simple, dark background, Vincent J. Musi captures the elegance of lions, leopards, tigers, and more. The South Carolina-based photographer works for National Geographic and shot these breathtaking images as part of a series titled Big Cats. His photos showcase incredible, up-close details that we don't often see, like the individual hairs, whiskers, and terrifying-looking teeth of these large animals.

In order to successfully shoot these photographs, Musi and his team created a studio space for each cat.  A huge, seamless paper background was installed for them to run around as the shutter went off (paper was only used for the cheetah – each one was a different approach – sometimes achieved with paint, wood and lighting.  Musi worked closely with experts of these captive-yet-untamed animals, and it took weeks to produce a small number of stunning portraits. The results highlight both the beauty and fierceness of the creatures.

Musi reflected on the challenges that he had to face with this project and writes, “No photograph we make is worth endangering or stressing an animal for, but the photographer is always fair game for getting sprayed and having the life scared out of him. The animal keepers call this enrichment. You learn your place on the food on the chain with these top predators very quickly.”

Vincent J. Musi website and Instagram
via [This Isn't Happiness]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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