The Plight Of Primates In Captivity By Ann Berry

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For her poignant series Behind Glass, the photographer Ann Berry traveled to zoos across the world, traversing Belgium and South Africa, documenting the sufferings and yearnings of primates in captivity. She hopes that her images of the stunning creatures, who alternately raise a hand or cast down shadowy eyes, will benefit non-profits fighting for the rights of animals to humane and just treatment.

The beautiful series vehemently avoids the high resolution color aesthetic of zoological photography, opting instead for a gaze evocative of early pictorialists, who strived to render the photographic distinctly unscientific and launched the then novel medium of photography into the realm of fine art. Within Berry’s jarringly ghostly and ethereal tones, each subject reveals a soulfulness so often hidden in photographs of animals; their struggle is urgently expressionistic, spiritual, dignified, and human. As the artist puts it, she hopes to “hear [the animals’] inner sound.”

The artist’s choice of title refers both to the glass cages and her own glass camera lens, furthering the tragic distance imposed upon animal and human; once captured in space, each primate subject is again captured and fixed with the photographic frame. The sensuality of their glittery eyes, downy beards, and calloused fingertips seduce the viewer, only to remind us that we are tragically separated from the beautiful beasts; only through glass and careful photographic printing may we strive to come together, to touch. Take a look. (via Feature Shoot and Lens Culture)

ROBIN SCHWARTZ’S Primate Portraits

Robn Schwartz’s Primate Portraits.

“The majority of apes and monkeys I photographed were privately cared for, contributing to the diversity of relationships, environments, and personal possessions in the photographs.

I incorporated elements from paintings, illustrations and my fantasy images into the photographs and tried to show each primate had a unique personality. I usually photographed within three feet of each primate, with a 35mm lens, never through bars or plexi-glass cages. I made friends with the primates and made subsequent visits. Developing a relationship was essential to capture the intensity of eye contact, which shows a consciousness of me.

I sought moments and edited for photographs that do not represent the everyday world of monkeys and apes in captivity, but my dream world of primates. Meeting the vast variety of primates and encountering the generosity of the owners, anthropologists and keepers was the experience of a lifetime.”

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