Animalia Week: Modern Wilderness by Daniel Zakharov
This week Lenscratch is featuring work by artists who are looking at our cohabitation with wildlife. We continue the week with captivating and heartbreaking images by German photographer, Daniel Zakharov. Animals in captivity often raise many concerns by varying groups of people. The photography of Daniel Zakharov brings attention the dismal and prison like enclosures of some modern zoos. While these places can provide curiosity to the public and valuable research potential to zoologists, they can also highlight the ethical issues involved with keeping these wild animals in a human environment.
Daniel Zakharov is a german photographer based in Cologne (Germany). After finishing school and studying Communication Design, he specialized in photography. Since 2009 he works as a freelance photographer on independent projects as well as on different commercial assignments. He took part in exhibitions in Germany an the Netherlands. His project „Face the Euro“ (a collaboration with Sebastian Hennig) was nominated for the Blooom Award in 2012 at Cologne Art Fair. He lives and works in Cologne.
This series addresses the issue of animals in imprisonment. But my intention was not to criticize zoos which nowadays have become ever more important in the conservation of species, but to focus on the strange and bizarre daily life of animals. Nowadays animals are born in captivity, between concrete, tiling, cement-slab buildings and artificial landscapes instead of the endless stretch of nature. In the meantime the zoo has become home for the animals and they have lost the memory of their ancestral breeding grounds.
The first pictures of this series were taken in 2009. At this time I often visited zoos. In general I always try to observe my environment from a certain distance. And the more often I went to the zoo, the bigger became the distance. I was fascinated that this very unnatural arrangement of animals in an urban surrounding has become natural for us. Today wild animals are born and raised in tiny fake landscapes instead of the wide and rude wilderness. Powerful and mighty nature is pressed into a tiny construct made by humans. The animals seem to forget about their roots and their habits. This contrast fascinated me and was my inspiration to proceed with „Modern Wilderness“. Since then I am visiting zoos all over the world and collecting new pictures, year after year.
As I mentioned before, the intention of this series is not to criticize zoos. This point of view is too simple for me: many zoos contribute to the conservation of species which otherwise would have disappeared from earth a long time ago. „Modern Wilderness“ is about thinking further and ask ourselves: How do we treat our environment? Why are there species only living in zoos? My pictures only show the strange reality, the interpretation is up to you. In my opinion it is very important to cross regularly the border of your/our mind, to break out of the usual circle of thoughts and take a look from a neutral point of view to question your/our habits.
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