Megan Eagles is on a mission to document Londoners and their pets. That’s how she’s ended up photographing parrots, snakes, chickens, a pink-eared poodle and ten fluffy rabbits.
‘You need to be inventive, take advantage of light and be quick,’ says Eagles, who started the project three years ago. ‘Possibly the hardest to photograph were the bunnies – it was almost impossible to keep them all on the bed at once to get the shot, and there was lots of weeing.’
Eagles’s photos aren’t fancy, they’re not overly edited and they don’t seem staged. To shoot, she uses a heavy, medium-format camera with a loud shutter sound. ‘Most of the animals were either intrigued or distracted by the noise,’ she says. ‘It’s a tough one trying to photograph something that doesn’t sit still.’ Her photos are lively and authentic-feeling, documenting the tender moments that exist between people and their pets: a snake draped over shoulders, fluffy rabbits in a cluttered bedroom, a chicken in a delicate, loving embrace.
She’s found some subjects by bumping into them on the street, others by contacting them directly. ‘I’m always surprised by the variety of animals you can come across just walking around London,’ says Eagles, who has a dog, cat and three ex-battery hens herself. However, a more obscure animal doesn’t always equal a more interesting photograph. ‘Sometimes a more conventional pet with a characterful owner results in a stronger image,’ Eagles says.
‘Animals are everywhere in London, even though it’s a big city that you don’t associate with nature,’ she continues. ‘I wanted to capture the working and domestic relationships that people have with animals, and the bonds formed between them. I love how people and animals live somewhat harmoniously.’
London really is a jungle: you just need to keep your eyes open.