I can remember when I was a young child watching television, I would see advertising  for welfare organisations for disadvantaged countries or animal rights. I’m sure this is the similar case for every other Gen Y.

Personally, I understood and grew support for these organisations ever since my first view, but sadly for some this type of marketing can become to saturated among other advertisements. They loose their power to trigger you to reach out and support them.

We are lucky enough to live in a highly artistic modern world, that we can combine our talents to create hope and reinforcement for these causes. Our talents can be the beneficial substance to change the way we grow engagement. This is the ideation behind the new movement of Coexist.

Coexist is a not-for-profit animal welfare organisation aimed at keeping people informed about various animal welfare issues by raising awareness through stunning photography, film and high quality journalism.

In a world filled with languages, sadly we can’t learn the voice of an animal so we must be the voice to help them. Coexist will be helping our dear animal friends speak.

I chatted with the Creative Director Natalie Cottee, in the lead up to their first launch campaign (friday the 11th of November) to find out how she combined her talents and passion to advance a movement.

Natalie grew up surrounded by animals and formed a passion to do something good for them.

I started looking into volunteering for WIRES as a native Australian animal rescuer and thinking of other ways I could work with and help animals. Around that time I saw a post on Instagram about Zambi Wildlife Retreat and the amazing work they are doing and that was the clincher.

I realised I could combine my passions of photography, art and animals to facilitate change and create awareness. I started Coexist and here we are 12 months later about to launch our first campaign!

With one simple idea to transform passions into a united force of good, Coexist was born. Natalie was not alone in her ideas to grow a movement like this, with now a large team helping her move forward and launch their first campaign.

“Over the past 5 months we have grown to about 25 already with the majority getting in contact with us and expressing their love and affinity with animals and wanting to be involved in the movement in whatever way they can.”

“We are a bit of unique collective including models, actors and talent, writers, stylists, make-up artists, art curators, producers, brand ambassadors (more details on who soon), film makers, editors, photographers, artists, designers, ex-zookeepers, vets and vet nurses!”

The Coexist team will look to address all animal issues but have a few they will focus on in the beginning.

“Elephant and rhino poaching for the illegal trade and the aerial gunning of wolves in Alaska. Whale and dolphin hunting, exotic animals in captivity and breeding programs in zoos and the stray cat and dog crisis in Indonesia, namely Bali to start.”

The most second most amazing thing about Coexist (first being all about animal welfare) is that the campaigns will be highly creative and engaging, in a way that draws you in to observe it. Similar to how fashion editorials intrigue you to view and read the hidden story being communicated.

Coexist inspiration image captured by Arthur Elgort in 1994

Coexist inspiration image captured by Arthur Elgort in 1994

Natalie felt the best instruments to communicate their important messages is through film and photography.

“People need to see things with their own eyes. It’s not enough to just tell someone something… Sometimes you need to get their attention first and we plan to do just that through our visual storytelling combined with informed journalism.”

Having such a large team and needing to use a lot of technical talents, it can be hard for a non-for-profit organisation to build the means to be able to create their campaigns.

Coexist was able to build a crowdfunding campaign to get them off the ground and launch their first campaign but our support is needed for further growth of this amazing organisation.

“We will need ongoing donations, sponsors and further support through our amazing volunteers.”

We must help to support Coexist with their fresh perspective and ideas on how to raise more awareness for animal welfare issues.

I believe most people love animals and it’s just they don’t know what really goes on all over the world and how cruel humans can be in the way that they treat them. With Coexist, we want to inform people without the use of shock tactics and harsh imagery which usually makes them turn away and not want to see anymore.

Instead, we want to create beautiful imagery that shows the harmony of our relationships with animals whilst still getting the important messages across. Also we want to offer solutions to people, like where they can go to donate to a specific cause or how they can take action themselves. “

With campaigns starring animals, it’s easy to think of some cheeky mishaps that may happen! Natalie told us of some behind the scenes naughtiness that happened on the day they shoot their first campaign at Zambi.

Coexist inspiration image captured by Richard Avedon 1981

Coexist inspiration image captured by Richard Avedon 1981


“Lucy the python got very up close and personal with our model Louise who was so calm and serene while lying naked and being entwined with a python!”

“Then at the end of the day, we were shooting Kota the puma who decided she didn’t want everyone to go home on time and instead wanted to eat her dinner in-between shots so after a few times back and fourth between eating and modelling Kota finally got her close up photo!”

If your feeling detached to the ideas of animal welfare issues because you’re unaware or not sure how you can support them, opt to support the growing movement of Coexist. It will help you to understand the issues in creative ways but also give you ideas to live consciously.

“It can be as simple as only buying cruelty-free cosmetic and cleaning products, or volunteering in your local wildlife rescue groups. Maybe you could adopt an animal from your local pound and perhaps if you haven’t already tried it, a ‘vegan’ day at least once a week to start. They say that vegans save 198 animals a year so every bit counts!”

Coexist’s first campaign launch night is this Friday the 11th of November, 6-9pm in Sydney – https://www.facebook.com/events/644026879101467/

Keep an eye out for future endeavours from Coexist and their fastly growing team with more on the horizon helping to create awareness and be the voice for our animal friends.

“We already have two more projects on the go looking to run in the next six months. On top of this we will also have collaborations with artists and other creatives working on additional projects with us as we go along. ”