Armed with a rather erratic 110mm camera and a love of anything with four legs Toni Cross has pretty much been trying to be a horse and animal photographer since the age of 10. Much of her early work is well hidden, cheaper cameras of that period not really having the technological ability for dealing with any subject that might move.
She went on to run award winning woodcraft company Treehouse Designs with ex-husband Philip for over 10 years, before returning to education and completing an honours degree in Countryside Conservation at Bishop Burton College in 2000.
After working in conservation for several years for East Riding Council, the RSPB and marine charity ORCA, and lecturing in wildlife conservation, she became a full time photographer in 2008, using her previous retail and design experience to develop a range of prints and giftware and exhibiting at events all over the UK. Horses and marine mammals remain some of her favourite subjects, though she also has a mysterious, and entirely unplanned, affinity with the charismatic Highland cow, which seems to keep cropping up in her work.
She loves capturing an animal's character through photography and many customers comment on her obvious connection with her subjects. Sometimes the connection can be a little too intense, building a close relationship with a 2 ton Bison or an Asian elephant requires a great deal of empathy and understanding of animal behaviour, especially considering the animals are almost always wild, she only very rarely photographs in zoos or collections.
Toni divides her time between Yorkshire, Norfolk and Australia and travels extensively with fellow photographer and bird expert Neil Calbrade.