This is another small photography project I worked on a few days ago. A 35mm photo of a languid tiger at Bangkok Dusit Zoo has been overlaid with a photo of a visitor at a James Ensor exhibition in London. Both subjects – the tiger and the man – have had their identities taken away, although only one photo has been edited.
Some animals cannot return to their original environment because it has been ruined by man, be them poachers or a devastating construction crew. Conservation plays an important factor in housing animals, but to do so in the middle of cities flooded with artificial light, noise pollution and constant exhaust fumes is cruel and counter-productive. Zoos need to focus on relocating away from city centres if they truly care for the wellbeing of the animals they look after.
Exhibition pieces are meticulously cared for because they’re beautiful, an expression of contemporary times and also worth a lot of money. Too many animals aren’t treated this way, even though they are all magnificent living creatures who grace us with their presence. Animals strive to survive, and when you take away their livelihood, most lose their purpose of living. A zoo cannot claim to be fully protecting their animals if they have relocated them to such radically and detrimentally different environments. All living creatures are not supposed to be subjected to such constantly loud levels of noise, nor are the particles from fumes meant to be processed by our lungs. Peacefulness and health deteriorate, and do so at a disproportionate level once taken from family and kept in a pen of an unsuitable size.