Bring back some good or bad memories


February 14, 2021

Spreading Good Vibes With John Drysdale’s Iconic Images of Animals

John Drysdale’s photographs are exciting, tender, hilarious, often exhilarating, but for more than the obvious reasons. Certainly it's not every day that one sees a lion that’s befriended a Boston terrier. Maybe elephants don’t usually go fishing, and parrots generally don't tend to lounge around in beach chairs, next to their human companions. But in the “peaceable kingdom” of John Drysdale, surprisingly unique alliances flourish. His photographs are whimsical and charming, but also carry a very important, necessary truth – the essential bonds of friendship transcend appearances, expectations, and traditions. Cats can love mice, bulldogs can rear squirrels, and foxes can protect chicks.

With a refreshingly honest eye, Drysdale has captured the many ways in which the creatures that inhabit the earth bring one another comfort and happiness. Never mind that a burro and a boy are curled up on the sofa, or that a chimpanzee is sunbathing with his human family by the pool. Friendship is where you find it. The familiarity and love expressed in Drysdale's work is heartfelt and very real – as the endnotes explain, the exotic animals that are his subjects were often orphaned as babies, and reared along with the humans and other animals in the photographs.

John Drysdale was born in Uganda, and learned photography at an early age. He spent the majority of his life in England, where he currently resides. His first assignments after studying photography at the Guilford College of Art were with Norman Parkinson at Vogue Studios and with Cecil Beaton, including a stint as royal court photographer for the Queen’s coronation. He is best known for his photographs of unusual interspecies bonding and of children, which have received worldwide recognition in the form of postcards and calendars. His publishing credits and exhibitions are extensive, including the books Our Peaceable Kingdom and My Love Unleashed. His awards include prizes from the British Press Pictures of the Year and from World Press Photo.


  1. Someone has added the image on the tv in the boy/hippo photo. has Our Peaceable Kingdom and you can see the original image there.

  2. i love these photos




Browse by Decades

Popular Posts


09 10