Careers in Action

Photo Collection Manager

Working in the WCS Photo Department is an incredibly rewarding job – you get to do photography, work with great people, and help save the world! What’s better than that?’

Growing up, Suzanne always liked taking pictures, mostly of friends and family, but never thought of it as something she could do as a career. As a junior at Fordham University, she attended the annual career fair. She was unimpressed by the business and financial companies, but before she was about to leave, she spotted a table full of plush, stuffed animals. It turned out to be the Photo Department at the Bronx Zoo looking for a part time employee.

Suzanne started working three days a week during the school year and full time in the summers, and enjoyed learning about photography: shooting, editing and organizing the images, and using software like Adobe Photoshop that could manipulate images. She also learned a lot about animals, as she needed to be able to identify them in order to keep the collection organized. After graduation, Suzanne began working for WCS full time managing the photo collection and is the back-up photographer.

There are many different tasks involved with Suzanne’s job, which is one of her favorite things about it. The collection is over 110 years old and has images from all five of its zoos/aquarium and some international sites. It consists of historical black and white glass slides, negatives and prints, color slides, and the digital image database. The collection consists of animal portraits, keepers, vets and scientists caring for animals, visitors in the parks, exhibits, construction and special events, all starting back in the 1890s! In this sense, she has an insider’s view of the whole history of the zoo, which is pretty neat.

Suzanne is in charge of finding and selecting images that will work well in WCS projects, such as brochures, signs, maps, presentations and anything else that requires an image. This allows her to work with nearly every department at all the WCS zoos. In fact, Suzanne helps the Teens for Planet Earth team find images for this website! Suzanne also shoots many special events and animals at all five WCS parks. Being able to do many different things keeps each day fun and unique.

Working for a conservation organization is extremely rewarding to Suzanne. Beautiful, cute and/or dramatic pictures of wildlife and wild lands can really affect and inspire people. Who can resist adorable animals? She hopes that the people who see the collection’s images will be inclined to help support conservation.

In order to get into this field, Suzanne recommends some knowledge of photography, photo editing and Photoshop, and being able to identify animals. Being organized and detail-oriented is also definitely a plus.