Carli Davidson’s “Wildlife” Pet Portraits Are Out of This World

The Austin photographer uses tarot and astrology to create unique images of your beloved friends

By Aaron Parsley
Carli Davidson Pet Photography

Humans learn so much from pets – about unconditional love, being present in a moment and appreciating life’s small pleasures. To honor furry family members, animal photographer Carli Davidson, whose bestselling book series Shake features astounding images of dogs and cats mid-jiggle, produces iconic pet portraits in a new series called “Wildlife.”

“I learn how to be a better person and how I want to be in the world from my pets,” says Davidson, who lives in Austin with her husband, cat and dog. “They are guides for me and I want to do them justice through this artwork.”

Her portraits are composites that place pets in scenic landscapes, among natural elements like flowers and crystals and alongside meaningful astronomical symbols. What surrounds a pet in the final image is determined by a process that includes reading tarot cards. This is not fortune-telling for dogs. “It’s not that literal,” Davidson says. “It’s talking to the owner about how they can relate to the cards and what that might mean for their pet.”

Tarot-prompted anecdotes inform Davidson as she selects the imagery – much of which she photographs during solo backpacking trips in remote corners of the Pacific Northwest – for the final portrait. “It’s an artistic practice in intuition and healing,” Davidson says. “What’s the right symbol that I’m putting together for this animal for who they are?”

The result, she says, is an “iconic image” of a beloved friend “that does justice to how valuable they are to our lives.”

Visit getawildlife.com for more information on Davidson’s portraiture for your dog, cat or … turtle? “Hell yeah,” she says when asked if she’d photograph a reptile. “There’s no limit. If someone said, ‘I have a hissing cockroach that I really love,’ I’d be like, ‘Bring it on.’”


Read More From the Wellness Issue | February 2020


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