Animal magnetism
N-Photo: the Nikon magazine|October 2021
Fine art wildlife photographer Alfie Bowen is on a mission to help conserve the natural world and change the lives of people with autism through his remarkable animal images
Alfie Bowen

I was only diagnosed with autism in 2009, when I was 11, so I missed out on the early intervention that might have eased my suffering later on, yet the traits were visible from an early age.

My love of photography began in my teens, as another way to satisfy my obsession with the natural world, but I quickly realized that when I was out in the field with a camera in my hand, I forgot about the stresses and sadness of life. Taking pictures of animals was the only time I felt relaxed and myself. Animals never laughed at me like people have done, so I’ve always connected with and trusted them more than I do people.

People tell me that I notice things others wouldn’t, which makes sense, as people on the spectrum are known to have increased sensory awareness. Noticing everything can also be exhausting and overwhelming when out in public, but I couldn’t do what

I do without that attention to detail, so in that regard I’m thankful for it. The autistic brain is complex – it never stops for a rest and always demands new information, which is crucial for animal photography.

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