By Aimee Braniff Cree**EXCLUSIVE**

INTIMATE portraits of exotic British animals show the sensitive side to these magnificent beasts.

One image shows the majestic king of the jungle staring down the lens of the camera while another incredible capture shows a jaguars profile, almost impossible to spot apart from their piercing eyes.

A sweet capture shows a baby chimpanzee deep in thought.

These stunning images were captured by freelance zoo and pet photographer Gary Cox (52) from Manchester, UK.

Gary captured these incredible portraits at zoos around the UK on his Canon EOS 100D with lenses up to 600mm.

“My style of photography evolved over time. I like to showcase the animal itself without any background distractions,” said Gary

A jaguar at Chester Zoo

“With these photos there initially seemed to be nothing much special and I mostly waited for the animal to look directly at me.

“The best ones are a result of some harsh sunlight. A prime example is the cheetah highlights where the sunlight provided a bright outline on the cheetahs features.

Portrait of a white tailed eagle

“I think these shots are just a bit different from the norm and there is something special about an animal submerged in shadow. It is a form of minimalist photography, highlighting that less can be more.

“I love taking the photos but equally enjoy the post processing to see what art I can make from the raw images. My distinctive black background has become my trademark as it gives the subject the spotlight with no distractions.”