This Photographer Used The Power Of Her Medium To Start A Conversation About Endangered Animals

“I think really what we’re looking to do is just share the majesty and soul that these amazing animals have."

Photographer KT Merry recently combined two things she loves: photography and saving endangered animals.

"I've always known that I'd like to take pictures of threatened species and beautiful majestic animals that are very quickly in our lifetime [becoming] extinct from the wild," she tells A Plus. "I also wanted to do more than just capture their beauty but to really help them."

Merry started Render Loyalty, a self-proclaimed "for-profit business, for good business" that aims to work with nonprofit organizations centered around wildlife conservation.

"As you can imagine, most nonprofits are busy doing the work of nonprofits," she said. "So they really need someone else to tell their stories for them and that's really what we wanted to do."

In 2016, Merry took a trip to northern Kenya and the Nairobi, the country's capital, to photograph animals such as giraffes, elephants, lions, and more with two different organizations: the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. From sunrise until sunset, Merry learned to balance getting up close and personal with the animals and knowing when to give them their space when trying to take intimate portraits. It was no easy feat.

"When you first come up to animals that you've seen in a lot of photographs and you've always been inspired by, their humanity just really comes through right away," she said.



Photo Credit: Render Loyalty
Photo Credit: Render Loyalty

One moment Merry recalls as a good challenge as a photographer was when she visited an elephant orphanage, and could see the similarities between animals and children.

"It's really just like the same way if you were to go to kindergarten recess," she said. "Just insert yourself into that chaos and what you would expect to ensue: little children running around in circles and you might get knocked over and things like that."

Regardless of having cameras knocked over or dropped in the mud, Merry said she had fun hanging out with them.

"I think really what we're looking to do is just share the majesty and soul that these amazing animals have," she said.

Photo Credit: Render Loyalty
Photo Credit: Render Loyalty

Upon Merry's return to the United States, Render Loyalty set out to have two art exhibitions: one in New York City in November and another in Los Angeles in December. Photographs that were sold had 60 percent of their proceeds go to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.

"A lot of people won't get an opportunity in their life to go to Africa or to see them in person," Merry said, "and so my goal was to really bring back these photographs that make them feel inspired by that connection and really just touch people on that emotional level."

Photo Credit: Render Loyalty
Photo Credit: Render Loyalty

She also added that she hopes that purchased photographs help to serve as a conversation starter about endangered animals.

Merry's plans for the future will be to take another trip and photograph endangered animals that aren't well-known and keep improving her photography skills.

"I think we all want to do what we do and do it well, but also be able to do good with our talents and what our skill set is," she said. "And so for me this is what [it was] all about, being able to combine all of the things that I'm passionate about and do some good with the skills that I have honed for the last decade. Render Loyalty is the culmination of that."

Check out some more of Merry's images below:

Photo Credit: Render Loyalty
Photo Credit: Render Loyalty
Photo Credit: Render Loyalty
Photo Credit: Render Loyalty


Photo Credit: Render Loyalty
Photo Credit: Render Loyalty
Photo Credit: Render Loyalty
Photo Credit: Render Loyalty
Photo Credit: Render Loyalty
Photo Credit: Render Loyalty
Photo Credit: Render Loyalty
Photo Credit: Render Loyalty

To learn more about Render Loyalty, visit its website here

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