Daniel Gebhart de Koekkoek’s personal projects often see the photographer working in one of two ways. Sometimes he’ll gather up subjects and encourage them to act in an unfamiliar way. In another project he’ll turn this on its head, instead placing subjects in an unfamiliar environment. Either way, Daniel ensures those who come across his work will certainly look twice. He’s photographed cats hurtling through the air, for instance, and more recently herded alpacas into front rooms and walk-in showers, all in order to show how life (maybe) is Better Living With Alpacas.
Daniel’s latest alpaca-starring project is a calendar for 2019, featuring coyly posed furry models staring down the lens month on month, a smile-inducing surprise as viewers peel back pages on the calendar’s ring binder. Seeing himself somewhere between “a photographer, artist and children’s book writer,” Better Living With Alpacas is a laugh-a-minute, or rather a laugh-a-month, calendar for adults wanting to bring the “infinite” fantasy of childhood “back to grown-up brains”.
Landing on alpacas as his next subject was actually quite a surprise for the photographer, admitting that following the jumping cats of 2018 “it was done for me with animals and calendars,” he tells It’s Nice That. However, while driving out of his home city of Vienna earlier this year, Daniel met alpacas for the very first time and “was overpowered by their positive energy,” he tells us. “I have never experienced something like that before. They have such a calming charisma and transported that to me immediately. In that second I knew that I didn’t want to keep all those good vibes only for me.” And so, the decision to “transform that power into a calendar to share it with anybody” was made, with the small creative hope that it would “start days with a smile”.
On asking the photographer about how these actual shoot days were, Daniel simply says: “Every day was different as the alpacas are different characters by themselves too.” Daniel also implies that he allowed the alpacas to choose their own settings in which to be photographed, noting how “the only thing they have in common is their fine taste for interior design and architecture,” he explains. “They are real masters and I love all the places they picked to get their pictures taken.”
You can pick up your own edition of Daniel’s calendar here.
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.