A few years ago, we added four sweet yellow ducklings to our family. As babies, they all looked the same. We thought they were all Pekin ducks, but as time passed, only three of our ducks rounded out and grew fluffy white feathers. The fourth one, grew up instead of out. It’s thinner coat of feathers was taupe, not white. We realized this little one was an Indian Runner duck. We originally named this little one Professor, after the character on Gilligan’s Island, but one day when our Professor popped out an egg, we realized that she was a girl! We changed her name to Ginger, as we felt it was more fitting for her and her beautiful ginger colored head. Although she looked different from her siblings, no one seemed to mind. She confidently struts her stuff and stretches out her long neck to show us all her unique features. Instead of feeling insecure about her differences, she embraces them with open wings!
*Available in 4 sizes: 12x12, 24x24, 40x40 and 48x48
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Val Shaff - Artist Statement
The Animal portraits of Patina Farm
My sepia toned, environmental portraits of farm animals are as warm and soft as their subjects. I hope to create a connection for the viewer with a sense of the individual spirit of the subject.
I made these photographs exclusively for Patina Farm. When I am in the field with my subjects all of my senses are happy so close to the earth. Smelling the smells, hearing the sounds, I grow very quiet and move slowly . I make my job a bit easier by photographing animals who are living in loving environments and not being farmed industrially. I believe that if I can get my subject to be engaged with me that what will be revealed is an essential aspect of their character and personality.
For the sepia toned environmental work I look for timeless environments that do not refer to the presence of people . I want to feel a sense of the primordial world inhabited by the others.
When I am photographing in the field I work with good old fashion film. I like working slowly and picking my moments carefully. The marriage of analog and digital gives me the best of both worlds.
When I photograph against black ground, I am working with high digital technology . My medium format Hasselblad digital camera sees things more sharply than I do. These images refer to the paintings of the Dutch Masters . I like to think that I am creating small masterpieces by simply doing justice to the likeness of my subjects. In response to my love of painting, I print on the finest canvas available for digital printing and it is done by a small family owned company in the United States. This medium allows the subject to imbue a space with a presence that I find otherwise obscured by glass .
My animal portraits are made with the hope that living with animal iconography is uplifting . It fills our homes with characters that express innocence , authenticity , humor , nobility , mystery, steadfastness ; In short the animals express and affirm our own values . We are all connected as we share the ground beneath our feet .