Creature Of The Night
African leopard (Panthera pardus)
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Cats hold a unique place in the human psyche. Love them or hate them (how someone can “hate” any animal remains a mystery), they’re undoubtedly creatures that stir a wide mix of emotions. Perhaps the fact that cats like this leopard would have been some of the few predators of our ape-like ancestors explains a lot of these primal feelings, especially when we see one emerging from the shadows as in this image. Yet there has been a lot of water under the bridge since then and the roles are now very much reversed. Today, most cats are either pets, pests or the highlight of a safari. The ancient Egyptians and various other cultures created deities based on their likeness. At the same time, their latest incarnation has seen them become the subjects of a seemingly infinite number of viral videos and memes. In short, cats represent different things to different people, depending on when and where you happen to be located in spacetime.
Yet no matter what they mean to you, you’ll likely agree that the leopard in this image is undeniably beautiful. Her bright eyes are equal parts menacing and mesmerising. Her perfectly symmetrical face and distinctive spot pattern make her the natural world’s equivalent of a runway model. These stunning features are only enhanced by the black of night that surrounds her. There is an intimacy to this image that makes you feel as if you’re having this encounter yourself. The big cat gazes directly at you, wondering why you’ve disturbed her late-night hunting while you ponder what it might be like actually to be on the menu. Like the other nighttime images in the Out Of The Grey collection, “Creature Of The Night” is a celebration of contrast that almost seems to display the subject in a vacuum. If you’re looking for a striking piece for your home or office, this might just be it.
Thanks for reading!