Geert Weggen describes himself as “a man who lives with and in magic.” When you see his work understand exactly what he means by this. And maybe the most magical part of all is that his calling came to him – right to his doorstep. First in the form of a fox, then other animals, and ultimately the red squirrels – these animals launched him into his career as a nature photographer. Now Weggen primarily only takes pictures of adorable squirrels, and he and his quirky subjects have become world-famous.
“Some years ago I started to take photos from my kitchen window of wild red squirrels, and do that still. Normally, I get bored after doing something for a few years, but not with this. I still watch these beautiful animals almost every day and make photos. They come and they go”. – Weggen
Weggen definitely has a gift for it too. His captures are priceless moments caught effortlessly, or so he makes it seem. Just looking at his squirrel photos you’d think it was so easy. But there was a lot of planning and careful set up of props and scenes beforehand. Everything was meticulously organized In advance to make his pictures possible.
The charmingly curious red squirrels take the bait and interact with his set up of toys… and of course, to eat some snacks he’s left around to lure them in. As they climb around all the nick-nacks searching for the food he snaps shots from a hidden location with cameras aimed perfectly at the scene. With this clever strategy he has turned his backyard into the ultimate squirrel photography studio snapping shots of his little friends at just the right time. This has been his life for the past 6 years every day.
He explains to My Modern Met:
“At the side of my house I made an outside studio; Half with a roof and the rest is open for the rain and snow. From my kitchen window, I can shoot . There are about 12 red squirrels living in the forest close to my house. The studio is directly connected with the forest and trees which makes it easy for the animals to approach. I hide a flash behind some scenes on a remote.”
So far, he has been published in several newspapers and articles about his work has appeared on the internet and in magazines in about 30 or more countries. He is the author of 8 squirrel photo books; published in 4 different languages. He also sells his images in the form of postcards and calendars.
Last year he began teaching his techniques in Squirrel workshops he has organized from his home. They occur twice a year when the young squirrels arrive. It is a 5-day workshop with a maximum of 3 participants allowed to join.
Creation is his passion. Through his company Hardeko he makes a living as a builder, masonry, carpenter, photographer, garden design and artist. He can almost make a living from the photography alone, but he really just loves to create things, whatever they may be.
He hopes that his photos bring some magic, wonder and happiness into people’s lives. Except for the occasional removal of a wire or food, all of his photos are completely real, no photoshop.
It was really difficult to pick his best shots as they are all so wonderful. So here are the most creative and sweet ones to spark that wonder in you as Weggen would want: