Jo-Anne McArthur, photojournalist & activist

by | Feb 5, 2014

Jo-Anne McArthur—an award-winning photojournalist whose passion as an animal activist has informed her work in an ongoing project, “We Animals”—recounts her first forays into photography. We Animals cover_web resolutionShe discusses her evolution as a photographer, deciding to specialize in animals at the urging of a mentor who recommended she follow her passion, as well as a light bulb moment courtesy of encountering (and photographing) a pickpocket macaque in Ecuador. McArthur talks a bit about “We Animals,” the ongoing project she conceived wherein she has spent more than a decade traveling the globe, documenting the
Chimpanzee Sanctuary - Ugandalives of captive, abused, exploited and other animals in a wide array of settings. “We Animals,” also the title of her newly-published book that offers a hundred-image sampling of the thousands of photos McArthur has shot over the years. She explains the approach she used to winnow down this sprawling collection of pictures to the mere fraction presented in the book; she also addresses the gambit she typically employs Woman With Deer Head - USAwhile on shoots, and how she’s sometimes seeking to create different types of images for different categories of animal exploitation or abuse.  Using the “Blackfish” phenomenon as a jumping off point, McArthur also speaks to the influence and impact of images in raising awareness of Next for Slaughter - Spainanimal welfare issues, particularly tied to her new book, and to “The Ghosts In Our Machine,” a new feature-length documentary film, directed by Liz Marshall, that centers around McArthur and her work. She mentions the hoped-for outcomes with the book, and comments on some specific images in the book, including one included below featuring a gorilla rescued from the bush meat trade in Cameroon, sitting on the lap of the caretaker at a sanctuary for such great apes—in the back seat of a car, hugging, both looking peaceful and happy (at least one, if not both, are smiling.) We animals, indeed. Photos by Jo-Anne McArthur. (,,  )

Rescued From the Bush Meat Trade - Cameroon

COMEDY CORNER: Eddie Izzard’s “Parrots” (portion) (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble’s “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” Lauris Vidal’s version of “Queen Bee,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  The Beatles’  “I Am The Walrus”


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