JOUKO VAN DER KRUIJSSEN
“Urban coyotes have the unique ability to lay bare the complete spectrum of attitudes people display toward the natural world. In relatively small geographical areas they expose the lovers, the haters, the oblivious, the curious, the blank slates, the artistic, the spiritual, the careless, the protectors and everyone in between. This unique intersection of shared physical space and a concentrated mosaic of human reactions almost condemns coyotes to a role of ambassadorship between the human population and the natural. Their grace and resilience are what will make them succeed in this role and turn haters into lovers and the careless into protectors.”
As an urban human being with an interest in his environment, Jouko has always explored urban habitats and observed his natural neighbors. First in his native Amsterdam, and now in San Francisco. His approach to wildlife photography involves immersing himself into an environment to the point where experiencing that environment becomes intuitive. All the scurrying sounds, the flashes in the corner of your eye, the seasonal changes and the distant alarm calls get absorbed almost subconsciously, the way radio jingles and annoying songs do, providing opportunity for the conscious mind to instantly filter out the noise and notice new and exciting things every day. The easiest environment to immerse oneself in is of course the place where you live, and even if your living environment is a city, there may be a surprising amount of wildlife to uncover.
In recent decades, coyotes have become an important part of San Francisco’s urban fauna and a favorite subject of Jouko’s photography. Through his images Jouko hopes to play his part in setting the record straight and flushing out the misinformation that continues to shape the coyote’s undeserved notoriety today.
Jouko’s work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Lonely Planet, BBC Earth, and various other online and print publications. When he’s not out photographing wildlife, he shoots weddings, portraits and events in the San Francisco Bay Area.