Quokka photos by Alex Cearns perfect for 2020

Quokkas are the happiest creatures on Earth, according to animal photographer Alex Cearns.

She should know — she spent months getting up close with the cuddly critters for her new book, The Quokka’s Guide To Happiness.
The former police officer and crime analyst has coupled cute, funny, and above all, superbly framed pics of the marsupials in their natural habitat with stirring quotes by great thinkers and writers from human history for a picture book that is unashamedly smile-inducing and mood-enhancing — perfect for the end of a year like this one.


It also contains plenty of facts about these appealing beasts, from the derivation of their unusual-sounding name (from the Aboriginal Nyungar language word “gwaga”), through the reasons for their facial expressions (the curve of their snout and the doglike way they “smile” by opening their mouths to cool off), to Alex’s tips on how to photograph them.

Perth-based Alex is a passionate campaigner for wildlife and abandoned animals. She has received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her charitable work and numerous photography awards.

“Quokkas are adorably cute, remarkably unique and very photogenic, with their cheeky grins and loveable personalities,” she said of her furry subjects on WA’s Rottnest Island.

“What an absolute joy it was to photograph quokkas while they (mostly) ate, played and interacted with each other. Some were very friendly and would run towards me at full speed, as if we were long-lost friends. Others were more cautious in their approach, but as soon as I sat still, their curious natures would get the better of them and they would slowly come closer and then act like I wasn’t even there – which generally meant they got on with eating.

“It was a great privilege to stop and sit quietly with hundreds of quokkas for hours on end and to get to know them better than I would have if I’d just taken a brief selfie with a mobile phone. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed taking the photographs for it.”

The Quokka’s Guide To Happiness by Alex Cearns, published by HarperCollins’ ABC Books, is available from Dec 2.


(And the quotes that accompany them in her book)

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