SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

October 31, 2013

Window on the wild

Beverly's Mary Baures showcases animal photography at Shetland Arts

There are leopards on the first floor of Shetland Park in Salem. Snow leopards, amur leopards and even a few jaguars can be seen roaming around the building.

The big cats are followed on the next three floors by elephants, zebras, wolves and bears.

These animals haven’t escaped from a game preserve but appear in the photography exhibit “Eye to Eye, Encounters with Wildlife,” by Beverly psychologist Mary Baures. The show is installed in Shetland Arts, the four-story atrium gallery at the office park.

“In February of 2011, I went to Africa to see the elephant migration and to see my baby elephant. That’s when it started,” Baures said.

She had adopted an elephant through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which runs an elephant orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya.

That visit was followed by a series of photography safaris in Africa, Brazil and Montana, the results of which appear in the show.

“I go on safaris with a guide,” Baures said. “At the beginning, I needed a teacher.”

She now uses “a very fancy” Nikon D4 camera that allows her to take shots in rapid succession and to capture images in low light, including here at home.

“I recently set it up here and got an egret fishing at 4 a.m., when I couldn’t even see,” she said.

But the technical aspects of photography are less intriguing to Baures than the contact it allows her to make with other species.

“I have writings on the walls at the show about encountering animals,” she said. “These stories are trying to point out how we are like them. As we are destroying their habitat, we need to empathize with them.”

Years before she photographed animals, Baures started to paint them, something she learned to do by taking classes at Montserrat College of Art.

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