Officially, Sam Gaby is an economist and policy advisor but he’s been a photographer way longer. Even tho he considers himself as a hobbyist, he has captured some very fascinating shots.
The photoshoots began when Sam met the foxes in a very small town in Newfoundland, Canada, called Twillingate. “The encounter was surreal, I spent almost 8 weeks with these foxes, photographing them almost every day. As you can see, the foxes look very relaxed, with no sign of stress on their faces.”
He managed to completely earn the foxes trust. Not only did they allow him to take their photos, it’s as if they were glad Sam was spending time with them.
One cross fox really stands out in the pictures. The partially melanistic color of its fur looks simply magical. A long dark stripe running down its back intersects another stripe to form a cross over its shoulders, and it’s impossible to take your eyes off of it.
At first, the cross fox was considered to be a separate species from the red fox, and was given the binomial name Canis Decassatus (the fox genus Vulpes was then commonly included in the dog genus Canis). And even after scientists concluded that they were variations of the same one, fur farmers and trappers continued to treat each red fox color form as a distinct species for quite some time.
Cross foxes are relatively common in the northern parts of North America, and comprise up to 30% of Canada’s red fox population. They were also once abundant in Idaho and Utah before being largely killed off. Some cross foxes are occasionally reported in Scandinavia but they’re very rare there. A study based on nearly 3,000 skins of the red fox in Finland found that 99% were of the reddish form, with cross foxes making up for only 0.3% of the remaining 1%.
Gaby believes that his job as a photographer is to document the environment and the behavior of the creatures living in it without disturbing them. “I reach a point where I go to that same spot and I call the foxes and they come out of the bush. It took time to build that trust,” he said. “I have never touched any of them, although I wanted to so bad.”
“The foxes were very curious. Extremely intelligent. I watched them digging food out of holes in the ground and also hiding food in the ground. I was told by locals that a long time ago, there was a fur farm in that area but when fur prices went down, the farm closed down and the owner released the foxes into the wild. I was also told by locals that both foxes are siblings.”
In the summer, Sam used Nikon D5, D750 and D610 to capture the foxes. In winter, he used Sony a7 III. “I do my best to visit this little town twice a year. I save up some money and I go spend my money there. I’d rather benefit a small community where jobs and other resources are scarce. These types of communities need our money to survive.”