At first glance, German wildlife photographer Manuela Kulpa’s beautiful photographs of African animals seem to have been taken in their natural environments.
However, you’ll be surprised to know that they are actually of zoo animals. She has long harbored a desire to visit Africa, but lacked the opportunities to do so, settling instead for shooting animals in captivity.
Unlike these forlorn pictures of animals in their enclosures, the animals in her ‘African Souls’ series emanate a majestic, soulful vibe with their strong expressions and body language.
Kulpa and her photographer husband Stefan have been shooting for the past seven years, and the pair have visited zoos in Germany, Belgium, Austria, Czech Republic and the Netherlands.
She revealed the challenges faced when capturing zoo animals, such as uncooperative subjects, fences and bars getting in the way, bad lighting, and limited vantage points. She also added that editing the images can sometimes take as long as weeks or even months.
Kulpa takes these obstacles in stride, saying she has learnt to be patient and that most of her best photographs were the result of spontanenous moments.
Check out some of her photographs below and view more here.
[via PetaPixel and F Stop Lounge, images via Manuela Kulpa]