Photographer Captures Her Daughter’s Special Bond with Wild Animals


Some photographers make a name for themselves by creating portraits of children, while others create similar images of wild animals. Photographer Robin Schwartz does both — at the same time.

Since 2002, Schwartz has been photographing her daughter Amelia while the young girl interacts with all kinds of creatures in the animal kingdom. Subjects have included everything from dogs and cats to monkeys, kangaroos, and elephants.

Schwartz says her goal with the photographs is to present the animals as an ordinary part of our world, so the photographer refrains from glamorizing the animals or using them in cliché ways.

Amelia herself plays a big role in the creation of the images. The girl has become accustomed to requesting various animals to meet and coming up with concepts and color palettes for the photo shoots. From the time the project started — when she was just 3 years old — Amelia was taught to not fear animals, that the animals are her siblings, and that they’re a “part of her natural world.”

That isn’t to say that Schwartz and her daughter are reckless with their image making: due to the care they put into doing things correctly and in a safe manner, the worst injury from an animal Amelia was received so far was being bitten in the face by a cousin’s dog — and that was during a routine non-photo-related family visit.

Here are some of the photographs Schwartz and her daughter have created so far:




















You can find more of Schwartz’s photographs over on her website. The project’s are titled Amelia’s World and Animal Affinity. A photo book of Amelia’s World was also published back in 2008.

Amelia Photographs by Robin Schwartz (via Slate)

Image credits: Photographs by Robin Schwartz and used with permission

  • Procentje20

    This will end with a kid eaten by grizzlies.

  • guest

    I know that not all kids are happy having their pictures taken, she does not look like a happy kid in any of these shots. She jas this look like she is being forced to partake, but maybe she just isn’t that photogenic. I don’t know

  • Roelof de Vries

    Nice! Photography is always the way to legitimize animal torture! Way to go using elephants primates and tigers as props…
    Before an elephant will interact with a human being like you see in the images, its tortured to near death as a baby. This man is just an egocentric person and is given a stage by

    Besides from that, these kind of pictures will just help the continuous torture of wildlife in Asia and other parts of the world because people think its normal that you can touch wild animals.

    Petapixel, you should be ashamed of yourself, giving this man a stage….

  • Gimmeabreak

    Nice… you are more concerned about the animals than the welfare of the child. Great priorities there.

  • Roelof de Vries

    Robin Schwartz can make a decision not to take these images, the animal can’t. Besides from that, the child doesnt look tortured to me, the animals do!

  • Mansgame

    The human has free will already so I tend to worry about the animals more too.

  • Mantis

    I was going to say Bengal Tigers, but yeah, the sentiment is the same.

  • JayBee

    Most of the photos aren’t even that good. Many look like happy snaps with the average disposable camera. Not impressed.

  • fast eddie

    It looks like the more exotic animals in the photos are in some kind of animal sanctuary or zoo. There are man-made structures in almost all of the photos.

    You do realize that it’s entirely possible that these are rescued animals, don’t you?

    Way to jump to conclusions about the photographer condoning animal torture, without providing any tangible proof.


  • Gimmeabreak

    The concern is that he’s making poor choices with the safety of his daughter. You missed the point. This is akin to the clueless parent that tells the child go stand by the wild animal in a national park.

  • Laura

    I can see what you are saying but the animals don’t look tortured…

  • Gimmeabreak

    Also will add that most of those animals don’t look “tortured” at all. A fair point can be made about the elephants and the primates, but the dogs, cats and lamas? Don’t see an issue there, nor with the horse or deer.

  • Laura

    I second this!

  • photosforus

    her daughter.

  • VocalShrapnel

    laying your kid down next to a dead deer is pretty creepy, “art” or not.

  • Roelof de Vries

    No, I agree on the domesticated animals like the dogs and cats. But elephants, tigers and primates, thats just wrong.
    You dont have to search for more then 5 minutes before you read how the spirit of an elephant has to be broken before he accepts humans around him. Ofcourse you can feed him well but still, its a tortured and endangered piece of wildlife (in this case an Asian elephant).
    And Gimmeabreak, you’re right about his daughter aswell ;)

  • Guest

    she is laying in a pile of deer remains

  • Guest

    Yes, that could be the case. But, in that case the sanctuary should not allow to take these kind of images because it doesnt help the intentions of the sanctuary at all. Even worse: It’ll do the opposite.
    Just like I said, these kind images are the reason why people think its normal to interact with wildlife…

  • Roy

    So if someone addresses a point while something of greater perceived importance exists, you question their priorities?

  • Zbigniew Piątek

    Idea’s OK but technically many shots are bad.

  • Roy

    “You dont have to search for more then 5 minutes before you read how the spirit of an elephant has to be broken before he accepts humans around him.”

    I couldn’t find any info to support this statement. Can you post a link to a credible source?

  • Guest

    Search for the ‘Asian Elephant’ on the WWF-website, Roy…

  • Kay O. Sweaver

    Animals in rescues or sanctuarys are often being re-habilitated with the intention of returning them to the wild. In those cases part of the rehabilitation is instilling in them a healthy distrust of humans. People wouldn’t be allowed to interact with them in this way.

    The only exception to that would be if it had already been determined that an animal wasn’t suitable for re-release. Even so its not a good idea to distribute these pictures because it gives people the idea that wild animals are friendly and safe – they can be, but they can also be dangerous and unpredictable. My parents lived in a national park for a year and tourists getting too close to wild animals and being injured was an all too common occurrence.

  • eraserhead12

    hope he raised her to love and respect wild animals at a distance in their natural environments, not to treat them like touchable pets. pretty sure these were all taken in a santuary/zoo wherein all the animals are already tame, but still…

    reminds me of a girl I knew who was rabid about saving wild cats, yet wanted to rip some from their natural environments to play with in her yard as pets. there’s a difference between enjoying animals, and respecting them.

  • Sterling

    I see very little “special bond” in those photos. What I see a lot of is a child that is bored of being a prop in her parent’s photos.

  • Ian

    Wow. Just… I guess he trusts those elephants to not, you know, do anything unexpected.

    Or the monkeys. Seriously, the monkeys!! She’s one swipe away from losing something like an eye in those pictures.

    To say nothing of the animal owners allowing this to happen and further remove the wild from these animals.

  • Dr.Mann

    So many dumb comments here, yeah lets just all send those animals back to the wild so they will be hunted and poached to extinction. People these days.

  • Roy

    I did, but so far haven’t been able to find this information. A direct link would be appreciated.

  • Roy

    Where did you see comments against animal protection (as opposed to domestication)?

  • -

    I do think there’s a special bond, and liked most of the photos.

    However really don’t like how intrusive people can get, not because you think is right they should do as you say.

  • Landscape Photog

    I don’t find the photos particularly compelling, but they do come across as kind of creepy and exploitative (of the animals AND her daughter).

  • lisa

    why doesn’t she smile? I seems just like a pose for a picture, not a natural pic- kinda like a “pretty baby” pouty look-if I was a kid with all those animals, I would be interacting with a big smile and radiate happiness-I don’t see that even though maybe her photographer poses her like that.

  • LisaMichele

    Robin Schwartz is a WOMAN you dolts!