Russian Photographer Casts Brown Bear in Her Whimsical Photoshoot Series

Russian photographer Olga Barantseva is known pairing her eye-catching wilderness-themed photography with a 23-year-old domestic bear named Stepan.

Her recent set of photos shows the amicable bear greeting a family camping in the woods and joining them for a spot of breakfast and a game of hide-and-seek. However, this isn’t the first time Barantseva has appeared in the news with Stepan; She also took the 650kg brown bear out for a snowy shoot with two models last year.

Barantseva says that her fairytale images will be used for an anti-hunting campaign to highlight “the natural harmony between humans and bears”.

Barantseva’s whimsical photoshoot with Stepan is aimed at preventing the slaughter of big predators in the wild, however, that doesn’t mean you should approach bears either.

Unlike most bears, Stepan was raised by a circus trainer as a young cub after hunters found him orphaned in the forest and in very bad shape, he’s now considered to be people-friendly by his owners.

Stepan has even become a household name in Russia, known for his starring roles in dozens of movies and posing as a model for many of Barantseva’s surreal photoshoots.

Aside from Stepan the bear, Barantseva shoots with wolves, owls, racoons, and lizards. In the future she hopes to weave more animals into her photo series including peacocks, crocodiles and foxes.

To see more of Barantseva’s fantasy-tinged photos check out her portfolio on 500px and follow her on Instagram here.

Title photo via Olga Barantseva