This is a photographic project I’ve been working on for a few years.The furries are people that meet up, online and in person and they’ll talk and chat and have fun together. Some of them go on walks around St.Paul’s cathedral and over the Millennium bridge. You’re thinking but so what lots of people do that, what makes these guys so special?
Well if I were to say they do all that in animal costumes ( fursuits), that would pique your interest a little bit wouldn’t it?
But equally you don’t have to wear a furry suit to be a furry, confused? I thought you might be.
Throughout the year furries dress up in costume or fur-suit inspired by anthropomorphic characters from cartoons, comic strips, myths and videogames. The people inside the suits are by day computer programmers, engineers, mortgage brokers, lecturers even fursuit makers. Most furries have an affinity with animals but some also like to role-play or fursuit for fun. Over the course of a few years, I gained the trust of the furries in the UK and some of their members allowed me to visit them at home, these photographs were taken all over the country.
The first rule of being a furry is to never ever reveal your identity, your non-furry self. So if you see any furries roaming around at a furry meeting or convention ( outside of the designated fursuiters lounge) in suit but carrying their heads, they are not furries. Maybe a mascot on a tea break or something..;-)
I wanted to find a way to show more of their personal lives without breaking the first rule of being a furry. So At Home With The Furries was born.
I initially photographed Smirnoff, a husky wolf hybrid who lives in North London with his family. Smirnoff is in his twenties and works in the creative industries as an actor. This was the first shoot and the results really inspired the approach I would take with the look of the pictures that followed. As natural looking as possible generally. Almost as though the photographer had stumbled onto the scene; don’t you realise that a wolf plays the piano everyday in this household?
I then met Lupus Londonwolf and Alfa Fox, a wolf and fox respectively who let on they loved to play poker at home. I wasn’t looking to force ideas on them, I wanted the furries to tell me what they like doing at home or in their local areas, so that I could at least get some semblance of their real lives.
What tended to happen is that I would photograph one furry who in turn would give ‘the nod’ to his/her friends. As in ‘this guy is alright, he’s not trying to do a sensationalised story about us’. That was very important to me, the project is a balanced look at the lives of people who like to dress as and identify as being a furry.Why do they do it? What they like it, how they got into it?
“First rule of Fur-Club.Don’t talk about fur-club. Second Rule: Don’t talk to journalists”
Getting access to this world wasn’t easy, I was greeted with suspicion initially when I started the project and it took some cajoling and convincing for me to be given access, but when I succeeded, I like to think I made it count with the photographs.
I could not have completed the work without the help of all the furries who gave up their time to be involved in the project and were only too keen to put in a good word for me.
A friend of Lupus Londonwolf, Lupestripe, a pink striped hybrid wolf from Middlesborough became a very enthusiastic champion of the project.( as did all the furries who took part in it in fact!) Lupestripe and his partner, Wolfie helped me with one of the best shoots of At Home With The Furries.
I should mention and give thanks to Smirnoff, Lupus Londonwolf, Alfa Fox, Lupestripe, Wolfie, Moon, Broccoli, Fatkraken, Albrecht, Pickle, Quartermane, Kreek, Jester, Zuki, Akil Tawnybird, Ashram, Chil, Aggie, Red, Bren, Pants, Dolph, Wruf, Twinkie, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Rochelle for their help, patience and participation with At Home With The Furries.
The full set of pictures can be seen on my website and I’ll be posting more images from each shoot over the coming weeks with accompanying interviews which will answer questions like : How can you be a furry and not have a fursuit? And I love this scene, how do I get into it?
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