Zoo

 

I have loved going to zoos since I was a small boy and I have taken photographs in zoos for as long as I have been interested in photography. The challenge of finding a new perspective is, well, challenging. This set of images includes some attempts to portray a more abstract perspective, as well as recreate Victorian-era photographs. Many people have an anti-zoo stance and several pictures have been created to show how easily the camera can lie...all the animals in these images are extremely well cared for.

I have always been fascinated by old photographs and the sense of times past evoked by their condition and quality. It is hard to imagine that the scene would have been as vibrant, sharp and colourful to those there, as contemporary scenes are to us today. The limitations of photographic equipment and the requirement to remain still throughout the exposure, meant compositions were limited and became stylised, with pictures blemished by small movements.

 

Victorian and Edwardian zoo photography not only existed within these constraints but within a society in which exotic animals truly were a marvel to be gawped at by an unknowing public, seeking thrills and entertainment. When we study old zoo pictures we can glimpse something that has long past.

 

In these pictures, I have sought to recreate that sense of the past through software manipulation, using contemporary images. Some work more successfully than others and I think this depends as much on the attitude/composition of the subject, as the variety of techniques I have experimented with. I hope you enjoy looking at them.