Wildlife photographer J.J. L’Heureux never knows what to expect each time she heads out on an expedition. “I made my first trip to the Southern Ocean/Antarctica in the year 2000,” explains L’Heureux. “Since this initial trip I have returned every season where I continue to collect images for my books, painting and photography series.”
Her Southern Ocean expeditions have led her to a number of abandoned whaling stations in South Georgia. She describes it…”On my second expedition to Antarctica the ship also visited South Georgia Island. Many of the bays previously had whaling stations in them. Grytviken, South Georgia, is a well know station as it is now a museum, has the cemetery with Sir Ernest Shackleton’s grave, a small beautiful church, a post office, and houses the authorities at King Edward Point where everyone must clear customs.”
With each new trip, L’Heureux has captured a multitude of exquisite images. She continues, “South Georgia Island has many species of penguins, albatross, seals and sea lions. Every bay and mountain is full of history especially from the heroic age of expeditions. It is also one of my favorite locations to visit and I have had the opportunity to explore the island eight or nine times. I have sailed there twice on a 65’ motor sailer, on two different icebreakers and a number of other small ships. I plan to return when the opportunity is presented in the future.”
L’Heureux has returned each season citing that there is always something new and different to photograph. ”Each expedition is successful for me,” insists J.J. “The Southern Ocean surrounds Antarctica and each expedition can only get me to one small area. I was pleased on my 12th trip to photograph Adelie Penguin Chicks for the first time. I had seen the Adelie Penguins arrive, build rock nests, find mates and incubate their eggs but not one chick until 2 years ago.
She adds, “I feel petroleum is the contemporary replacement for animal oil in the past 100 years. As we have slaughtered the whales we are continuing to slaughter our environment. I hope my “Bags of Bones” Series will help the viewer become more aware of how we continue to strip our earth indiscriminately.”
L’Heureux’s work has been featured in numerous museums. She has traveled to Africa, South America, the Galapagos Islands, Russia, and North America to research and photograph animals in their natural habitats. Her work will be featured in upcoming shows at the Albany Museum of Art, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach, CA and the Lafayette Science Museum in Louisiana, Goddard Center in Oklahoma and the International Wildlife Museum in Arizona.
J.J. L’Heureux’s work will be on view at the Santa Monica Art Studios as part of the 9th annual Open Studios this Saturday Oct.12 from 6-9pm and on Sunday, Oct. 13, from 1- 5pm. The exhibition will run through November 23.
The Santa Monica Art Studios is located at 3026 Airport Ave., Santa Monica. 90405. 310.397.7449; http://www.santamonicaartstudios.com