Pet project: Winnipeg photographer captures squirrels in human scenarios
CTVNews.ca Staff, with files from CTV Winnipeg
Published Monday, December 24, 2018 8:05PM EST
A Winnipeg woman is using photography and some intricate dioramas to capture squirrels in a new light.
To many they may be garden-wrecking nuisances, but to nature-loving photographer Debbie Vokey, squirrels are her subject matter.
Vokey's pet project is taking photos of the squirrels in her backyard, engaged in human activities.
"I think we need to embrace even what people call rodents. I don't like to use that term for the squirrels," Vokey said.
She's been snapping photos of live squirrels in various scenarios since 2015. Vokey creates intricate and life-like -- but not life-sized -- sets laced with peanut butter to lure the squirrels onto the scene and capture them in action.
From carrying canoes and playing in a sandbox, to playing the drums and pushing a sleigh, Vokey estimates she's captured up to 10 different squirrels in action at home and at her cottage.
IN PICTURES: Setting the scene for squirrels
"They're one-sixth scale, which is like Barbie so I'm very lucky that way because it's easier to source Barbie things," Vokey said of her sets. She uses miniature objects picked up at craft sales, online, or created from household items.
To help capture the scenes, Vokey had a custom-built kitchen window installed. From inside she’s able to point and shoot without scaring the critters away.
"The number one question about the project is, is it real?" Vokey said.
"Certainly no stuffed squirrels. So they're just wild and not really trained, habituated maybe to come for food but not really trained so, I can't make them do what I want," Vokey said.
You can view the entire catalogue of squirrel snaps, and some of the other creatures she's captured in the process, on Vokey's website.