Donal Boyd is an American wildlife conservationist and photographer currently based in Southern Africa. His intimate portraits of the worlds most threatened wildlife establish a sense of closeness, familiarity, and emotional connection between viewers and the subjects he depicts. Donal’s highly aesthetic imagery is accomplished through distilling the most visually punctual elements of wildlife through post-processing techniques that push the boundaries of traditional wildlife portraiture. Ultimately, Donal presents his art as a form of ‘visual advocacy’ to promote the conservation of wildlife and nature through the depiction of each individual animal’s portrait and story.
His primary outlet for expression is social media where his punctual visuals and eccentric captions have garnered a large following that is eager to learn more about conservation projects and support environmental initiatives that are presented through Donal’s channels.
Donal spends the majority of his time out in nature with wildlife and largely developed his own approach to portraiture over the past few years as the photographer in residence for Erindi Private Game Reserve in Namibia. Erindi was the first place that Donal gained personal experience in conservation and since visiting for the first time in 2016, he’s chronicled the people, projects, and wildlife on the Reserve to share with audiences around the world.
Beyond Namibia, Donal has worked with a wide variety of other organizations to document conservation programs including ifaw, Wild is Life, Onçafari, SOS Pantanal, and many others. In 2019 Donal co-founded Behind the Scenes of Nature (BTS Nature): A conservation media agency with a mission to showcase the reality of what goes on behind the scenes to protect and restore nature across the globe, presenting stories of dedicated people and their challenges involved with conservation projects. The organization debuted publicly with a soft-launch in late 2019 and after 6-months of in-the-field productions in Borneo, Pantanal, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, the team is currently compiling and editing media to publish their first official series of awareness campaigns through social media that cover the most critical environmental issues of our time.
Donal’s independent portrait projects are largely self-funded through his fine-art photography business, which is managed by a gallery in São Paulo, Brazil – The Gabriel Wickbold Studio and Gallery. His limited-edition series are sought after by collectors worldwide who seek to support wildlife conservation initiatives as Donal regularly commits funds from print sales to organizations such as ifaw, Onçafari, and SOS Pantanal.
In the next year Donal aims to continue to develop his animal portrait series as well as expand media coverage produced by the newly initiated BTS Nature in order to reach a broader audience via film and writing. Likewise, Donal hopes to also participate in more public speaking forums, launch his own book series, and has the goal of developing a large-format print installation in NYC subways to raise awareness for elephant conservation – he’s actively seeking partners who are interested in supporting these kinds of initiatives.