LIFE

These Wild Animal Portraits Look Like Paintings But Are 100% Real…

by Julia Lynn Rubin

Believe it or not, these whimsical wild animal portraits were in no way altered using Photoshop.

Russian photographer, Katerina Plotnikova, takes these daring photographs with the help of animal handlers and assistance, and her work is so powerful, she currently has over 18,000 followers on 500px and more than 540,000 fans on Facebook.

All of the animals she uses for her shoots are treated with the utmost respect and care, and the end results of her work are truly astonishing.

Katerina was recently interviewed by 500px, and her interview has been translated from Russian to English.

Please SHARE Katerina’s incredible work with everyone you know!

Katerina was born in a small town near Moscow, where she still lives. She was originally a passionate painter, but found her love for photography through a university course in advertisement design.

Katerina was born in a small town near Moscow, where she still lives. She was originally a passionate painter, but found her love for photography through a university course in advertisement design.

"All my passion towards painting, all the years of academic art training — all this helped me move to a discover a new state of art — photography, which is still prevalent in my life to this day," Katerina told 500px.

"All my passion towards painting, all the years of academic art training — all this helped me move to a discover a new state of art — photography, which is still prevalent in my life to this day," Katerina told 500px.

This domesticated fox is named Adyssey, and despite his often difficult temper, he seems calm and relaxed in Katerina's arms.

This domesticated fox is named Adyssey, and despite his often difficult temper, he seems calm and relaxed in Katerina's arms.

Her gentle, patient demeanor around animals seems to draw them more closely towards her, as if she's a wild animal whisperer.

Her gentle, patient demeanor around animals seems to draw them more closely towards her, as if she's a wild animal whisperer.
Katerina Plotnikova

Katerina finds inspiration for her art from a number of unusual places, including hardware stores, flea markets, and even garbage bins.

Katerina finds inspiration for her art from a number of unusual places, including hardware stores, flea markets, and even garbage bins.
Katerina Plotnikova

"More than anything, I’m inspired by nature," she said. "Some landscapes are so inspiring that you just want to fly."

"More than anything, I’m inspired by nature," she said. "Some landscapes are so inspiring that you just want to fly."
Katerina Plotnikova

Her dreamlike photographs certainly evoke a fairy tale aesthetic.

Her dreamlike photographs certainly evoke a fairy tale aesthetic.
Katerina Plotnikova

Katerina's favorite photographers include Tim Walker, Annie Leibowitz, and Adam Smith.

Katerina's favorite photographers include Tim Walker, Annie Leibowitz, and Adam Smith.
Katerina Plotnikova

She shoots her photographs using a Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 50mm f/1.2L.

She shoots her photographs using a Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 50mm f/1.2L.
Katerina Plotnikova

When asked if she could photograph just one place, thing, or person in the world, Katerina could not think of an answer.

When asked if she could photograph just one place, thing, or person in the world, Katerina could not think of an answer.
Katerina Plotnikova

"Every day, I either want or imagine something new, so if you ask me the same question again, I’d answer it differently," she told 500px.

"Every day, I either want or imagine something new, so if you ask me the same question again, I’d answer it differently," she told 500px.
Katerina Plotnikova

So how does she do it? Katerina and a handler use treats like cakes and humans to entice Stephen the bear to stand still for photographs.

So how does she do it? Katerina and a handler use treats like cakes and humans to entice Stephen the bear to stand still for photographs.

They treat Stephen like a human, which he seems to appreciate. Stephen has over 18 years of experience working in the movie business.

They treat Stephen like a human, which he seems to appreciate. Stephen has over 18 years of experience working in the movie business.
Katerina Plotnikova

Katerina's work is truly awe-inspiring, and the risks she takes with her art is inspiring to any artist.

Katerina's work is truly awe-inspiring, and the risks she takes with her art is inspiring to any artist.
Katerina Plotnikova

Please SHARE these remarkable photographs with all of your animal-loving friends!

H/T: 500px