One of the things I like to do is walk around like a tourist with a big DSLR camera held up to my face. Time and time again, I come back to reflective surfaces. The double images that are reflected back at me for mere seconds can be pinned down like insects to the wall of a museum.
A couple years ago, my DSLR camera-hefting self made its way to a zoo. It occurred to me that for animals, the glass is going in the other direction. They get to view thousands of homo sapiens every day. Whether they’re as interested in us as we are in them, we can only guess… but it did give me some photography inspiration. In many zoo photographs, the goal is to immerse the viewer in the animal’s world. There should be no gates, no plaques, not even a hint of reflection on the glass, because that would break the “4th wall” of reminding us we’re still in our own world. For my photo series, however, the goal is exactly the opposite. Instead of photographing the animals, I attempted to photograph the people who watch the animals. Thus we can imagine the experience of a zoo from the eyes of an animal: looking through glass at strange animals with clothes and cameras.
This photo collection is in no way saying that animals feel trapped or unhappy in zoos. After reading The Life of Pi (which I highly recommend), I realize that zoos are a good place for many animals to be. I simply found the reflections on glass intriguing to explore.
(Hint: click on the images to see them full-sized.)