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How Low Can You Go?

Published by marco on

The International Photography Contest (National Geographic) selected the following picture as the winner in the Animals category of their annual competition. This is wrong on so many levels, not least of which is that a lot of people (yours truly included) tend to have much stronger reactions to the suffering of animals that fellow human beings. Why is that? Is it their helplessness? Their relative innocence? Are people not accorded a similar guilelessness, by default? Or do we just assume that they, while not necessarily deserving their fate, have, in some way, failed to prevent it?

 Caged Monkeys by Li Feng

“Caged monkeys await their fate at a medical laboratory in Hubei Province, China. The judges liked that this image subverts the usual romanticized approach to wildlife photography and more accurately reflects the fate of many of the world’s animals. The sneaker at the top provides scale and injects a human being into the scene; the anonymity of the wearer suggests concealment and complicity. The structure of the cages, the horror of the captivity, the crowded composition, and the claustrophobic tension all add up to a sad and compelling photo.”