Exhibitionists·ART KIDS

He's an award-winning wildlife photographer — and he's only 13

Josiah Launstein takes you on a shoot with some bighorn sheep and shows off some serious camera skills (and a lot of patience).

Josiah Launstein takes you on a shoot with some bighorn sheep and shows off some serious camera skills

He's an award-winning wildlife photographer — and he's only 13

5 years ago
Duration 3:46
Josiah Launstein takes you on a shoot with some bighorn sheep and shows off some serious camera skills (and a lot of patience).

Hey, remember those times we ran those stories about those kids that blew your mind? Guess what? There's more where that came from!

Since we've found out that this country is populated by some seriously talented young people, we've decided to bring more of their stories to you. So: this is Art Kids. And in today's edition, you're meeting Josiah Launstein, a 13-year-old with a knack for silent observation, a keen eye and deep empathy for the animal kingdom. He's barely a teenager, but he's already become an accomplished wildlife photographer who's garnered international acclaim for his photos.

Josiah Launstein. (CBC Arts)

Launstein's artistic life began when he was only five and started playing with his dad's camera — and since starting to take photography more seriously at age seven, he's been devoted to mastering both the technical and aesthetic aspects of photography. This drive was provoked by a tough moment: once, after an exhilarating day of photographing bald eagles in action (not an easy feat), Launstein captured a moment when an eagle swooped to catch a fish. It was the perfect shot. Or it would have been — when he looked close, he realized that the focus was on the eagle's tail instead of its beak. The disappointment was enough to make him strive to never let the perfect shot get away again.

In this video, part of the Art Kids series, you'll tag along with Launstein on a trip to photograph bighorn sheep (his favourite animal to photograph or, you know, just to hang with). He spends hours observing the animals and chasing the perfect moment to capture with his camera. In fact, he passes so much time with them that he's given some of them names, like Brazen and Poser. 

Josiah Launstein was named Young Outdoor Photographer of the Year in 2014 (he was 10) for his photo "Bighorn Battle," and this year he was recognized in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition for his photograph "Raindrops". That photograph will be on tour this year in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition making its way to 50 countries. It's at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto until March 18, and you can see it at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria until April 2.

Art Kids is a CBC Arts series that travels the country to find the next generation of groundbreaking creators in arts from painting, to dance, to poetry. Their accomplishments will amaze you — and might make you feel a little bad about yourself. But that's okay.

Watch CBC Arts: Exhibitionists online or on Friday nights at 11:30pm (12am NT) and Sundays at 3:30pm (4pm NT) on CBC Television.


Priscilla Galvez is a Toronto-based Producer and Director. Most recently, she produced the BravoFACT short film The Emissary and is currently in post-production on a sci-fi action short The Drop In for Bell Media. Priscilla is in development on the web-series Off Kilter with director Alejandro Alvarez Cadilla as well as directing and co-writing the short film Wolf Alice, based on the short story by Angela Carter. Jeff Pavlopoulos is a Toronto-based writer, director and cinematographer striving to encounter the unfamiliar in the everyday. He is currently developing a short series, Secret Chiefs, about the invisible ties that bind us to one another, and the hidden, sometimes dangerous world that exists all around us.


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