You might assume, that the cheetah in this image is a stuffed animal and only a prop, since shooting such a scenario with a predator can become quite dangerous. But it was a real cheetah which turns this image by Tomas Rodriguez into something really special. We asked him how the picture was taken.


Tomas, as we can see, a real cheetah has sneaked into your shooting. Did he just happen to stop by or how did this meeting occur? What did the models and the photographer feel like side by side with that predator? Tell us a little about the origin of that image.

Tomas Rodriguez

Tomas Rodriguez

The idea behind that cheetah production is actually really simple. For the past eleven years I have been producing in the most wonderful country of South-Africa on a regular basis. Usually I earn my money with fashion and commercial photography. But every now and then I take my camera and wander through the townships, to not only see the beautiful glamour but to also get an idea of the country and the people. Out of those picture there already emerged two exhibitions.

But now the cheetah, which is much more tame than a lion and fascinates me with his expression. That is exactly what I wanted to capture, also regarding the commercial stock-photography.
Although the images will not have the largest target-audience and won´t really become top sellers, I love the idea of shooting „just beautiful“ pictures in-between without always thinking about making big bucks with it.

When I asked the people from my team, if they were okay with shooting with a cheetah or if some were maybe afraid which would have been quite normal, there was only positive feedback and a good reception. So what are we waiting for? Distracted by small pieces of meat and a guard both on the left and on the right side we all survived just fine!  To have a cheetah so close at eye-level was simply amazing! A very spezial experience that I will never forget.

Here are a few making-of images: