Australian photographer Alex Cearns is our nation's most awarded animal photographer.
But besides capturing images of animals in a myriad of locations, she is most passionate about photographing their imperfections.
Why isn’t a disabled dog as photo-worthy as an abled pooch? She is a firm believer that no matter an animal's physical imperfection, the beauty is still there.
Her incredibly touching photo series Perfect Imperfection features a cat who had both eyes removed, a three legged beagle, a dog with mange and a galah with a fused leg.
"A greater volume of beloved pets are having surgery to prolong their life and I started thinking that photographing the disabled pets sends a nice message about how amazing animals are at adapting to circumstances,” Cearns said.
“I’ve been overwhelmed by the response to my photos, including a recent exhibition in the UK. People are now sending me their own pictures and stories. My Perfect Imperfection project has generated a lot of love and several disability sites overseas have used the photos because it translates to people as well."
Cearns' photos have been embraced distant countries such as Romania, Poland and Mexico, where they’ve even been used in campaigns to compare disabled animals to disabled people. There is beauty in us all, regardless of a missing eye or leg.
One of the cats Cearns photographed was a kitten who was thrown from a moving car and left with only two and a half legs.
“Yet these animals are full of life and love. The overall message is that these animals are an inspiration. They want to live, they want to get as much out of life as they can. They’ve overcome adversity with a lack of complaints. They are all about iinspiration and unconditional love,” Cearns said.
Cearns has won over 50 photography awards, including Best Canine Photographer, 2011 & 2013. She was also a Finalist for the Pride of Australia Medal, 2013. She’s an ambassador for Tamron lenses and photography partner for Free the Bears.
"I recently photographed a dog who had had his leg amputated the week before. He bounded out of the car and ran into my studio with so much joy. There is so much we can learn from animals -- they adjust to trauma very quickly, with no complaints. They live their lives with love and happiness -- it's so wonderful to see."