My favorite place in the world is the Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa - it even says so on my REI name tag at work. I love it not so much for the beauty of the park itself but for it’s wildlife. Its relatively small size makes it easier to find and photograph the animals. If you were to ask me what my favorite type of photography is, I’d say wildlife. Wild animals are endlessly fascinating and beautiful, and I love seeing them in their own world.
I love it because it is a glimpse of a world without humans. Or rather it feels like one. You don’t need me to beat the “humans have forever changed the planet” drum, it’s already deafening, but when I’m watching a family of elephants play at a water hole, or an elk browsing its way through the Rockies, it’s a silhouette of a world beyond humanity that doesn’t exist anymore. Most wilderness is now kept in demarcated areas and carefully managed to keep it alive, and precariously so.
I feel this is epitomized in zoos; little tableaus of animals in nature. Flora and flora from all over the world are crammed into a park in the middle of a city. I’ve written before of my cognitive dissonance when it comes to zoos - I hate the idea of keeping wild animals captive, but it is fascinating to see an array of animals, not to mention the significant conservation work many zoos do. Many of the photos from this album were taken at the Smithsonian national Zoo in Washington D.C. I’ve always either tried to represent the animal as being in captivity, or at least never misrepresent them as being in the wild.
After that load of hippy whimsy, time to go back to reality. I think this is one of my favorite albums I’ve done and I’ve loved working on it.