Shika was my first large cat to photograph in studio. Large cats in studio are an experience unlike anything else. The combination of power and grace is tangible. They command respect and one wrong move can make things escalate quickly. I remember distinctly when Shika trainers removed her leash and asked her to walk to the mark. The way she walked was so graceful, and stunningly beautiful. But I was in the middle, at her mercy. The feeling that I could be prey was chilling. She received fresh, uncooked meat as her reward between takes. I only work with trainers who show a great amount of respect for the animals and are incredibly thoughtful with their care. Shika owners not only treat her with dignity but also love. It was obvious there’s an ongoing relationship of trust and appreciation.