Monday, January 24, 2011

Monkey Faces

Monkey Portraits by Jill Greenberg
I just bought this book as a gift, but absolutely had to take a look through it first.
The portraits are beautiful and expressive and so very human. I try very hard to steer clear of anthropomorphism, but with monkeys it seems like such a natural progression or evolution.To make them even more human the monkeys all have names and there is a list of each ones resumé in the back. I suppose that when looking for monkeys in the US that will sit still in front of the camera, it makes sense to choose monkey actors. Although I would imagine that she is a very patient photographer as her subjects have also included portraits of bears and wailing children.
While the humanness of the monkey is appealing, I think what really draws me to them is the duality of them. Actions that look so familiar and comedic but very obviously belong to a wild animal. Sweet little faces that contain enormous teeth. Shown so well by the Golden Snub-Nosed monkey from China. Recently photographed by Cyril Ruoso for National Georgraphic
Hard to fathom that this little creature is related to the ones below. But a healthy reminder that nature is rarely one sided.
Ruoso has had a great deal of experience photographing in the field and photographing teeth much larger those of the wee Snub-Nose.

It's obvious that we are so drawn to monkeys and apes because we see ourselves in them and vice versa, but perhaps this self reflection includes all sides of them.

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