Thursday, August 25, 2011

Looking Natural

I admit that, although the majority of the photos I post are from the zoo, I like to take pictures that minimize the visibility of the zoo itself, avoiding the curbs and concrete barriers, cages and glass and electric fencing. Part of that is an aesthetic concern (the non-botanical landscaping is not so attractive), part of it is an obsession with subjects (I want to focus completely on the specific animal[s] I’m interested in), and part of it is, of course, the almost subconscious desire to pretend that these animals are in the wild, in their natural environment—that, in fact, my lens has approached them so closely it’s almost as if we’re out there with them.

It’s not likely that I’ll change my style, but every now and then I get a niggling feeling of guilt, a desire to explicitly address the artificially natural habitat in which these creatures live.

I’m not saying they have terrible lives, and I certainly hope they have contented lives—but, regardless, they do have lives whose boundaries and behaviors are prescribed by humans rather more completely than even those of wild animals whose habitat we’re destroying.

I’ll leave it at that.

{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}


anca vlasopolos said...

Beautiful post. It made me profoundly sad.

Patricia Lichen said...

Well said. Pretty much sums it up.

It's one of those gray issues rather than a black and white one--but that weighing out of the good/bad of zoos is important...and certainly has helped result in the habitat improvements in zoos.

--Patricia Lichen

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