"The visible strength of my work comes out of an emotional connection to the subject. My photographs reveal a respectfully intimate perspective, whether it's a portrait of another species or of a human relationship. I find truth and authenticity irresistibly seductive."
– Valerie Shaff
Valerie Shaff is a fine art and commercial photographer based in New York. Her singular style – at once, powerful and delicate, romantic and faithful, intimate and universal – permeates her wide body of work. Valerie is renowned for her portraiture, which reflects her deep appreciation for the authentic beauty of her subjects, animal and human alike.
Valerie began cultivating this appreciation as a child growing up on the banks of the Hudson River. Her earliest memories of making photographs recall documenting the various characters inhabiting her world, from her beloved golden retriever to the butterflies, frogs and anything else that would hold still long enough for her to snap the shutter.
Valerie retained her childhood sense of wonder and reverence for the natural world even as a career in fashion photography took her to the streets of New York. Taking a summer away from the city’s bright lights, Valerie found herself drawn to a dairy farm down the road from her home in the Catskills. Camera in hand amidst the farm’s menagerie of cows, pigs, ducks, rabbits and goats, she discovered her ability to engage the animals and, in so doing, elicit their natural character and expression.
Valerie’s sepia-toned barnyard portraits soon came to the attention of renowned animal lover Martha Stewart and the Gap. Her work has since appeared in many national publications including the New Yorker, Good Housekeeping, Paper and InStyle magazines, and her commercial clients include Ralph Lauren, Purina, Atlantic Records and Vintage Press. Valerie has collaborated with author Roy Blount, Jr. on four best-selling books featuring her animal portraits: If Only You Knew How Much I Smell You: True Portraits of Dogs; I Am the Cat, Don’t Forget That: Feline Expressions; I Am Puppy, Hear Me Yap: The Ages of Dog; and Am I Pig Enough For You Yet?: Voices of the Barnyard.